India police bust drug trafficking ring, arrest Kenyan

Tuesday October 8 2019

A 36-year-old Kenyan woman, who has been living

A 36-year-old Kenyan woman, who has been living in India illegally, has been arrested on allegations of running an international drugs trafficking ring and evading trial. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By MARY WAMBUI

A 36-year-old Kenyan woman, who has been living in India illegally, has been arrested on allegations of running an international drugs trafficking ring and evading trial.

Mariam Mweke, who is believed to have been operating an underground ring since 2016 following the expiry of her visa, was arrested by New Delhi’s police last week at her hideout in Nalasopala area of Mumbai.

TheTimes of India on October 7 reported that the arrest of Ms Mweke came after a more than seven-month hunt that included placing a Ksh73,000 ($730) bounty on her head.

Ms Mweke’s run-ins with the Indian authorities began in 2016 when she was arrested alongside two of her associates with over 7.5 kilos of heroin.

“After completing investigations, a charge sheet was filed against the three on November 1, last year and on January 7 this year she was granted bail,” said Pramod Kushwaha, a senior officer with the New Delhi police.

She, however, jumped bail and evaded the trial proceedings, prompting a search and placing of a bounty on her head.

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In June last year, the authorities confiscated another of her consignments and re-ignited their search for her.

After her arrest last week, Ms Mweke is said to have revealed that she had shifted her base from Maharashtra to Nalasopara where she reorganised and continued with the illegal business.

“She said her associates used to procure heroin from various Afghan nationals in Delhi for further supply in various parts of the country,” The Times of India reported.

Ms Mweke is said to have been introduced to the trade by Mr Obum Favor, another Kenyan, and began working as a trafficker between Delhi and Punjab.

With time, she developed her own contacts and started her own syndicate.

Ms Mweke is said be married and has a family in Nairobi.