Mansour extradited by Kenya to the US

Mangele

Village Elder
#1
Infamous ivory, rhinoceros horn poacher and drug trafficker Abubakar Mansur Mohammed Surur alias Mansour was extradited from Kenya to New York over the weekend, coming just months after he was arrested at Moi International airport.

New York District Attorney Audrey Strauss revealed on Monday that Mansour is part of an international syndicate engaging in the illicit trade that has been evading law enforcement officers for years.


The suspect was arrested on July 29, 2020 by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) immediately when he landed at the airport after a chartered flight from Yemen.

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Mansour is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring to sell 10 tonnes of elephant ivory and more than 181kg of rhinoceros horn across a seven-year period.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has said the trafficker was part of a transnational criminal enterprise known as the “Enterprise” based in Uganda and surrounding countries.


Authorities believed Mansour and several others conspired to distribute, sell and smuggle the ivory and rhino horn between 2012 and 2019.

“…Surur is alleged to be a member of an international conspiracy to traffic in rhino horns, elephant ivory, and heroin. The enterprise is allegedly responsible for the illegal slaughter of dozens of rhinos and more than 100 elephants, both endangered species. The excellent work of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the DEA has put an end to this operation,” said the New York District attorney.

Investigators believe he is a member of the Kromah network, a smuggling organisation that trades in drugs and illegal wildlife products.


The network shipped its goods out of ports in Pemba, Mozambique, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Mombasa.

In 2019, authorities in Uganda arrested the head of the network, Liberian national Moazu Kromah. In 2017, Kenyan police arrested two other key figures, brothers Ibrahim Akasha and Baktash Akasha. The brothers were extradited to the US, where they are now serving long-term jail sentences.

Abdi Hussein Ahmed, alias Abu Khadi, a citizen of Kenya, remains a fugitive.

Read:US Attorney announces Mansour's extradition

The 60-year-old suspect is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and two counts of wildlife trafficking, which each carry a maximum sentence of five years; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; and one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
 

Mangele

Village Elder
#5
How US agents seized ivory baron Mansur

Abubakar Mansur Mohamed Surur, 60, who was arrested at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa after landing from Yemen on board a chartered aircraft on July 29 last year, was born in Moyale, Marsabit County, in 1960, according to documents seen by the Nation.
Mr Mansur has lived in Mombasa where he has a family, including two brothers, who have since moved to an unknown area. The family lived in Tononoka, Mvita, and was in the long-distance transport business in the region.

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The holder of passport number A2283881 and Kenyan ID number 0069184, who had been flagged as wanted in the US for Ivory-related offences, was arrested at the Arrivals Terminal at the airport after landing from Yemen onboard a Skyward Express chartered aircraft flight No DHC8. He was then handed over to Interpol, Nairobi.

Interpol handed him over to the US authorities, who then extradited him from Nairobi this weekend.
Mr Surur is on the wanted list for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhino horns and elephant ivory, both protected wildlife species, valued at more than Sh800 million, and which involved the poaching of more than 35 rhinos and more than 100 elephants.
According to a five-count indictment by the US department of Justice, Southern District of New York prosecutors, Mr Surur and another Kenyan, Abdi Hussein Ahmed aka Abu Khadi, Liberian Moazu Kromah aka Kampala Man and Guinean Amara Cherif aka Bamba Isiaka, are accused of being members of an international criminal network based in Uganda and surrounding countries, which was involved in large-scale trafficking and smuggling of rhino horns and elephant ivory.

Criminal networks
The US accuses the four of running the criminal networks spanning Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania, to buyers located in Manhattan, New York, in the United States, and countries in South East Asia.

Mr Surur and the three have been formally indicted by the US on money laundering and participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilogrammes of heroin.
From December 2012 through May 2019, Mr Surur, Mr Ahmed and two others conspired to transport, distribute, sell and smuggle at least 190 kilogrammes of rhino horns and at least 10 tonnes of elephant ivory from or involving various countries in Africa to buyers located in the US.
According to the indictment, the four exported and agreed to export the rhino horns and elephant ivory for delivery to foreign buyers in packaging that concealed the horns and ivory in, among other things, pieces of art such as African masks and statues.
They allegedly received and deposited payments from foreign customers that were sent in the form of international wire transfers, some which were sent through US financial institutions, and paid for in cash.

Separately, from August 2018 through May 2019, Mr Surur and Mr Ahmed conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilogrammes of heroin to a buyer in New York.

Indictment
The four, the indictment shows, were being monitored by the US Drug Enforcement Agencies (DEA), and are alleged to have met a US undercover agent with whom they discussed the price, weight of the rhino horns, payments and delivery options.

All the while, the US agents were monitoring their phone and email communications and bank transactions.
“Mr Surur met the informant in Kenya in July 2017, where he offered to sell parts of rhino horns weighing 4.2 kilogrammes at a cost of Sh6.2 million. The informant was even able to take photos of the rhino horns on sale,” the indictment reads in part.
On November 21, 2017, Mr Surur, together with his accomplices, met the informant in Kampala, where Mr Kromah indicated that he had elephant tusks, and agreed to organise their shipping to the US.
On February 12, 2018, the informant once again met the four in Kampala where he asked to purchase the rhino horn, asking if they could ship it to Dakar, Senegal for onward transmission to Manhattan, New York.
On March 2, 2018, the undercover agent met with Mr Surur and Mr Ahmed, and they received a payment of Sh1.8 million for the horn and a further Sh117,000 as commission. Two weeks later, US agents intercepted the package containing the horn, which had been sent by Mr Surur.
 

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