Kenyan women arrested in India for alleged gold smuggling

Mumbai, India

Three Kenyan women were over the weekend arrested for alleged involvement in smuggling over four kilograms of gold worth at least Sh40 million at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

In a statement issued by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs, the three Kenyans identified as Samira Abdi (37), Feiza Hassan (25) and Fardowsa Abdi (30) arrived at CSMT airport from Addis Ababa, approached the red channel counter in the arrival hall, Terminal 2, and said that that they wanted to declare the gold items which they were carrying.

However, it was found that the same was mis-declared as the actual weight was more than what the three passengers declared.

In the declaration form, they mentioned the total quantity of gold as 2.540 kg. However, it was found that the gold weight was more than what they declared.

“The personal search of Samira Mohamed Abdi resulted in the recovery of 11 gold bars which were kept inside the underwear and brassiere by the said passenger.

The other two passengers Feiza Abdi Dekh Hassan and Fardowsa Ahmed Abdi admitted that they had given the said gold bars to Samira Mohamed Abdi for concealment. The passengers were found smuggling gold melted bars having a net weight of 4.483 kgs, all collectively valued at Rs 2.60 crore (Sh40 million),” AIU said in a statement.

It added that in their voluntary statements, the accused passengers admitted the possession, carriage, recovery smuggling and handling of gold.

“The passenger admitted that the gold belonged to them and they had purchased the said gold from one Ahmed who is residing at Eastleigh, Nairobi on credit and that they were supposed to sell the gold in the local market in India and the profits from the same they were supposed to take back to Nairobi,” it added.

AIU said that the suspects knew that there was a huge difference in the value of gold in India and the value of gold in Nairobi and they were supposed to make a good profit.

This latest incident follows a similar event in February 2024, where a Kenyan woman was arrested for alleged involvement in smuggling 3.6 kilograms of gold worth Sh26.4 million at the Mumbai International Airport.

Sadia Mohammed Ali, 38, is said to have departed from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and after her arrest claimed she was drawn into the gold smuggling racket by her friend Safia, motivated by a desire to settle her loans.

She was among eight individuals accused of smuggling approximately 8kg of gold and five iPhones from foreign countries.

AIU at the time of her arrest said the woman had hidden the gold in her luggage and was heading out of the airport when she was intercepted.

The incident raised concerns about how she bypassed security checks at JKIA.

Indian authorities discovered a substantial quantity of gold in her luggage, including bars, melted pieces, and jewellery, prompting an investigation into potential accomplices and wider smuggling networks.

In October 2023, four Kenyan women were arrested in India with nearly Sh49.9 million allegedly acquired through illegal cross-border activities.

Authorities revealed that these women were part of a criminal organisation involved in smuggling gold from various countries, melting it in India, and then selling it as bars.

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