A Kenyan citizen, Mansur Mohamed Surur, aka Mansour pleaded guilty to conspiring to trafficking rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory which are both considered endangered wildlife species.
Kenyan suspect in US pleads guilty of smuggling contraband goods worth Sh384 million
Mansour pleaded guilty just days after officers arrested one of his accomplices in Garissa
According to a statement from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams, Surur also pled guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin to a buyer located in the United States.
“The protection of endangered wildlife and natural resources is a crucial and important priority for my Office. These defendants were responsible for furthering an industry that illegally slaughters species protected by international agreements around the world.
“One of these defendants also engaged in a narcotics conspiracy involving a large quantity of heroin. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, these defendants have now pled guilty to the serious and destructive crimes they committed,” read part of the statement.
The rhinoceros horns have an estimated market value of at least Ksh394 million ($3.4 million).
Two of the suspects' co-defendants, Moazu Kromah, aka Ayoub/Ayuba/Kampala Man, a citizen of Liberia, and Amara Cherif aka Bamba Issiaka, a citizen of Guinea, previously pled guilty on March 30, 2022, and April 27, 2022, respectively.
The remaining defendants, Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh, aka Badro, and Abdi Hussein Ahmed, aka Abu Khadi are both citizens of Kenya.
Saleh is in custody in Kenya and Ahmed remains a fugitive. The US Department of State has offered a reward of up to $1 million (Sh115 million ) for information leading to his arrest and or conviction.
Saleh was arrested in Garissa on Monday after a tip-off from members of the public.
The two allegedly conspired to smuggle at least 190 kilograms of rhinoceros horns and at least 10 tons of elephant ivory valued at more than $7 million (Sh816 million).
“Eradicating drug and wildlife trafficking are priorities of the Biden Administration. We are grateful for the continued partnership of the Government of Kenya to capture and arrest members of these criminal networks” said Eric W. Kneedler, the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Nairobi.
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