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Notorious drug dealer Yusuf Swaleh alias Kendereni has been found dead 9 days after being abducted by people who identified themselves as police officers.

The body of Swaleh who was profiled by security agencies as one of the leading drug dealers at the coast was found in Kilifi County.

Before his death Yusuf Swaleh resided in Kikambala from where he ran an intricate ring of drug trafficking and money laundering.

According to police reports he was found dead on Sunday 17 March at Kiruwitu near Vipingo in Kilifi County. Although the police report adds that he was abducted by unknown people eyewitness reports indicate that his abductors identified themselves as police officers.


Yusuf Swaleh is said to have been gunning to inherit the extensive Akasha drug empire.

For long, security agencies have profiled Swaleh as the leading drug dealer in the region. He was a marked man in the wake of operations against drug trafficking and consumption in the region.

This marks the end of an era for a man who was eager to take over Ibrahim Akasha’s drug empire after his sons, Baktash Akasha and Ibrahim Akasha, were extradited to the US to face drug trafficking charges.

They were later sentenced to 25 and 23 years in prison, respectively.

Swaleh had reportedly become the new face of drug trafficking at the Coast, as evidenced by the number of drug cases and the value of the substances he was accused of trafficking.

The body had injuries to the head, police said. The deceased has been battling several criminal charges linked to a multi-million-shilling drug trafficking and money laundering operation in Coast.

While he operated from Mombasa his drug ring was said to be behind the importation and distribution of heroin to various drug dens and cartels within and outside the coast region.

For instance, on October 26, 2018, he was charged at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Law Courts in Nairobi with trafficking 91,738 grammes of heroin valued at KES 275 million.

He was charged alongside another woman with “trafficking by storing” heroin, which police found hidden in suitcases and a gunny bag in Kikambala, Kilifi County.

In 2010, Swaleh was jailed for 25 years for trafficking five kilogrammes of heroin, while in 2011 and 2013, he was separately charged at the Mombasa Law Court.

He was first convicted and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 1996 for trafficking heroin.

He was sent to Shimo La Tewa Prison in Mombasa and on March 8, 2023, Swaleh was jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty of money laundering.

This was after he and his wife were found to have engaged in an agreement to buy tour motor vehicles worth KES 7.6 million on February 4, 2017, using proceeds of drug trafficking.

Officials said the convicts purchased two vehicles within months and paid KES 6.2 million with a view of concealing the source of the said money.

He was released on appeal. With the help of his family, who are in the drug business in Tanzania, Swaleh has managed to smuggle in the drugs from Tanzania, police say.

Swaleh had not only accumulated a lot of wealth from drug trafficking but also through money laundering, police claimed. Swaleh’s murder also comes just a month after the national government declared a crackdown on drug trafficking at the Coast.

The deceased has been working with mules who distribute heroin to various drug dens from which hundreds of youths were able to access the drugs, police say.

According to investigators, the drugs also find their way into nightclubs and some hotels where both local and foreign tourists can access the drugs. Some of the drug peddlers are also associated with criminal groups involved in muggings within Kisauni, Bombolulu, Majengo and Likoni areas.

Police believe he was the unapprehended head of the drug trafficking gangs in the coastal region.


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