NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Six Pakistanis and one Iranian national who were found guilty of trafficking heroin via the Indian Ocean to Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa have been sentenced to life in prison.
The foreigners have been in custody since 2014 when they were arrested and charged with trafficking heroin worth 1.3 billion Kenya shillings ($10 million).
Each of the convicts will also be fined 3.9 billion Kenya shillings, the Mombasa court said Friday. They all have a right to appeal to the higher court.
The seven were crew members of a ship Amin Darya, also known as Al Noor, and were arrested while on board while the ship was at sea.
The ship was destroyed in an operation that was supervised by then President Uhuru Kenyatta, who reiterated the country’s strict stance against drug trafficking.
During the trial, the foreigners accused police of tampering with evidence after the ship was destroyed before the case was concluded. The magistrate, however, said the court was satisfied with the evidence retrieved before the ship was destroyed.
Police said they found 377 kilograms (831 pounds) of granular heroin, 33,200 liters (8,770 gallons) of liquid heroin and 2,400 liters (6,34 gallons) of diesel mixed with heroin.
The Kenyan public prosecutor had sought a life sentence for each of the men after the court found them guilty last month. Kenya's coast has become a transit point for drug trafficking in the East African region, according to officials.