Kandereni: Slippery drug baron seeking to take over Akasha narcotics empire - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Kandereni: Slippery drug baron seeking to take over Akasha narcotics empire

drug trafficking
By MOHAMED AHMED
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Police have arrested Swaleh Yusuf Ahmed, alias Candy Rain, and his accomplices several times but they always seem to find their way out of jail

He started off as a matatu driver in Mombasa and rose from a small-time peddler of Rophypnol tablets — widely known in the coastal city as bugizi — to a well-connected drug baron.

Ahmed, also known as Kandereni, slowly grew his business using his connections with influential Coast politicians who offered him protection.

As his trade thrived, though not to the scale of that commanded by the notorious Akasha family, which had spread globally, Kandereni soon found himself on the wrong side of the law, resulting in several arrests.

He was soon prosecuted, convicted and condemned to a 25-year jail term. But he appealed against this judgment and controversially secured his release.

His frequent arrests and convictions never cowed him, but instead made him bolder.


And like the Sicilian Mafia, he quietly went about building a deeply entrenched drug empire in the coastal region with the help of a tightly-knit web of close family members.

ASSOCIATES

Police records show that just like the Akashas, Kandereni has brought on board his wife, suspected concubine and several in-laws.

Kandereni, a dark, heavily built, middle-aged man with a greying beard, has, with the fall of the Akasha empire, taken over as the region’s drug kingpin, according to police.

Police records indicate that as his empire grows in leaps and bounds, so have his networks in the justice system and the security agencies.

Top on the list of his associates is Masuo Bakari Tajiri, who has married his sister-in-law.

Thrice, Tajiri has been arrested with heroin worth millions of shillings, but somehow manages to secure his release whenever he is taken to court.

A serial offender, Tajiri is currently facing three drug-trafficking cases in a Mombasa court but is out on bond in all of them.

His latest arrest was in June when he was found with 1.4 kilos of heroin valued at Sh3.1 million.

ARRESTS

The Tanzanian national was also in April arrested alongside a woman, Fatuma Mohammed Sikobo, 38, with three kilos of heroin in Mombasa’s Nyali suburb.

In 2017, he was arrested in a crackdown targeting Italians suspected of being involved in the narcotics trade and who were found with heroin worth Sh10 million, cash and ammunition.

Police records show that Tajiri has previously served 20 years in jail for robbery with violence and was released in 2015 following a presidential pardon.

The two drug barons are related through their marriage to two sisters — Asmah Abdallah, Kandereni’s wife, and Halima Abdallah, Tajiri’s wife. The sisters hail from Kisauni, Mombasa.

Asmah was arrested alongside Kandereni by the anti-narcotics unit in 2017, with police seizing 17 kilos of heroin worth Sh170 million and Sh18.5 million in cash.

Also seized in the operation was Kandereni’s fleet of high-end vehicles, which are currently rotting away at the Mombasa police headquarters.

Little has been heard of Asmah since her arrest, with police shifting their focus to her sister Halima.

DRUG HAUL

Her name was top on the police “most wanted list” during recent arrests in the Coast. Drugs worth Sh18 million were seized in the crackdown.

“Halima Abdallah Mohamed, wife of Masuo Bakari Tajiri, is believed to be an associate in a cartel managed by Swaleh Ahmed, alias “Candy Rain”, who is facing drug trafficking charges of more than 100 kilos of heroin,” reads a police report.

The haul in question, worth Sh300 million, was seized in a house in Kikambala, Kilifi County, on September 20 last year.

The discovery of the haul sparked a manhunt for Kandereni’s suspected concubine, Fatma Ali Ahmed, who was arrested in Nairobi’s Eastleigh last year.

Police said Fatma was the manager of the Kikambala home where the haul was found. At the time of her arrest, Fatma was operating an M-Pesa outlet in Mombasa.

Another member of Kandereni’s drugs empire is one Zainab Abdi Farah, who police said operates a distribution network of heroin in Kisauni.

Farah, who was arrested for the second time last week, is the daughter of Salma Bakari Ali, 62. The duo were in May also arrested with heroin worth Sh3 million.

POLICE ACCOMPLICE

Ali’s husband and Farah’s father, Abdi Farah, is said to have been once married to Kandereni’s mother.

Intelligence reports have revealed that Farah started off as a storekeeper of drugs she allegedly received from Suleiman Mohammed Abdallah, alias Kamara.

Kamara is a brother of Said Mohamed Abdallah, famously known as Shuwaz, who was recently arrested alongside his police girlfriend Hamdi Yusuf Maalim.

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said Shuwaz has been operating with impunity on the South Coast.

“He has been influencing police officers to protect him and his business,” said Mr Elungata. “The police officer who was arrested had already started expanding the business to Garissa.”

Intelligence reports indicate that Shuwaz controls the narcotics trade in parts of Diani, where he was arrested, and Likoni, where he also has a house.

He took over the business from his close associate Mwinyi Mzungu, who was once arrested and jailed for 15 years. Mzungu appealed and was later released.

“When Mzungu was released from jail, he started working with Kamara (brother of Shuwaz), who used Zainab as his storekeeper. Kamara later teamed up with his brother Shuwaz to continue with their business,” a highly-placed source told the Saturday Nation.

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