The duty of law enforcement is lawbreaking, a circle of silent assent. Constable Charles Luigi Luiseno made the startling discovery too late.
Despite being the lead agency in the war against drug trafficking, the Anti Narcotics Unit, established in 1983 within the Kenya Police, is like a cabal within the Service.
The call connected. “Go ahead, Charlie. Nice to hear from you,” her voice mellowed on the other end. “Any action?”
“Not really. I’m calling to ask for a favour.”
“Why I’m I getting the feeling that this is more than a favour?”
“You always were right about me.”
“But you never worked hard enough for us. You and I …”
“Are worlds apart, I know. It’d be strictly business, Cindy.”
After a long pause, she said, “Okay. When? Where?”
“You tell me.”
She chuckled. “You have changed, Charlie. My house? After work.”
Charles surveyed the room when he entered her lavishly furnished living room, and paced up and down, his eyes caught by photos he had not left.
“How are you two faring?” He asked pointing at a photo of a man who was stifling a smile when it was taken.
She ignored the question and sat opposite him after offering him a drink.
“So, what can I do for you, Charles?”
“Cindy, I need your help. I have been assigned the case you were working on before you were promoted …”
“Yeah, I know. What do you want me to do? I’m way past that, remember.”
“I know you, how hate the streets. I am not asking you to go out there with me. All I want is info, your sources, contacts, anything to give me a start.”
She pouted her lips and looked at him. “The most abused drug is heroin, commonly known as Brown Sugar. Cocaine’s there too, liquefied, commonly known as the White Wine, or just whites. Heroin, the most abused drug comes from Afghanistan. Of late Kenya is not only a consumer but also a processing hub, and the largest in East Africa for that matter.
“Once this heroin arrives, there’s this elusive drug syndicate in the city that we’ve tried for quite some time to nab. The drug lord, too, is a ghost.”
“I really appreciate this,” he said and took a sip of his drink.
“Something else, there’s this newly opened Sugar Company in the city. Yeah, Bammy Sugar Company. I have been checking it out. Most of its sugar is exported. Have you ever seen it in our shops? That’s it. This sugar is exported mostly to Pakistan and Mexico. Yeah, I know it’s not well-known that Mexico is our business partner. This company blends the heroin they get from Afghanistan with the sugar. The Brown Sugar. That’s how the drug is muled out of the country.
“You’ve seen the sachets of this powder drink called Dextrosol? It’s Brown Sugar. Go to the slums and the bars and pubs there. You won’t fail to see Dextrosol stocked. You’ll ask what the hell is Dextrosol, kids’ stuff, doing in a pub? Just ask for poppy or any other name like kiketi or mzigo. You’ll have your Brown Sugar. One packet goes for around one hundred shillings, and can be taken by mixing with drinks or injection.”
When she was done, Charles hoped that he would do his best, the little he could, to rid the streets of Nairobi of drugs.
Charles lay in wait in an unmarked police car at the rear of a grimy street bar. The bar was the place hedonistic souls thronged to be mopped on the face by different shades of booty. Shapely girls in provocative lingeries, others at different stages of undress, or completely naked, entertained the clientele gymnastically on poles. It was also the place Brown Sugar was sold in wholesale.
A dealer would go with several sachets, apart from those stocked in the bar, and stay in a room that smelt of stale beer mixed with urine at the rear of the bar near the cloakrooms. The dealer would go to the bar, take a customer’s beer order and squeeze some Brown Sugar into the drink at his OR and then take it to the customer.
Through his night vision binoculars, Charles saw a boy, not more than fifteen, go in and out of the bar, come with a bottle, put something in it and then duck in again.
Charles calculated his moves. He had to get the boy, or whoever it was, with the Brown Sugar.
Charles waited for a few minutes and saw the boy come out of the bar again and make it to his operating room. The boy had a bottle in his hand, and a girl trailing right behind him. The girl went to the ladies and a few minutes later emerged coughing uncontrollably.
The girl went back to the bar while the boy sat there in the dimly lit corridor that led to the back door.
Charles knew that it was time for him to move. He started towards the bar, whistling, with a story in his head. As he neared the back door to the bar the boy was smiling at him. “Unataka kichuri?” the boy asked him and added, “Hata gwai hiko.”
“Hey Mzeiya, mi nataka mzigo. Hiko?”
The boy got into the room and told him to enter. In a black polythene bag, he removed two sachets of the drug and handed them over to Charles.
Charles got into his pockets as if to get the money for the cargo, but he fished out cuffs instead. All he wanted with the boy was information. He would let him go.
The subject handcuffed and his bag of drugs with him, Charles hustled the boy to the unmarked police car.
A year into the Anti-Narcotics Unit and there was a surge in drug seizures. However, it was not clear whether it was a result of better law enforcement or an increase in trafficking through Kenya. The drug lord was still a ghost, and there was an upsurge of Brown Sugar abuse on the streets.
On the day he joined the rank and file of those who do nothing but watch the system get rotten, he was the second-in-command of Operation Kingpin. At last, the ghost had been gotten.
The commander of Operation Kingpin gave the signal for the Task Force to move in. Charles was in charge of the main raiding force.
Hardly had the commander finished giving his hand signals when Charles’s phone rang. He glanced at the ID. Cindy. Dammit. But it was already late.
“Charles, we need to talk.”
“Hey, what’s the matter? We’re going to …”
“Corporal, tell your commander to stand down!”
She hung up before he could say anything.