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Venezuelan embassy in Kenya linked to drugs

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – A witness testifying in Kenya in the trial of a former diplomat charged in the killing of the acting Venezuelan ambassador said the embassy’s diplomatic bag was used to traffic drugs.

Prosecution witness Kevin Lameck, who worked as a driver at the embassy in Nairobi, was answering questions Wednesday from a defense lawyer.

The embassy’s former first secretary, Dwight Sagaray, is charged with murder in the killing of acting Ambassador Olga Fonseca. She was found strangled in the embassy’s official residence on July 27, 2012, only 12 days after reporting to Kenya.

Prosecutors have also charged Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Sagaray’s friend and an alleged co-conspirator who has been on the run since the killing. Three security guards from the embassy have also been charged.

At the trial Wednesday, Lameck testified that the drugs came in during the tenure of Fonseca’s predecessor and that Sagaray was never allowed to touch the bag.

In Caracas, a spokeswoman for the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the drug claim. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to say anything.

Kenyan authorities say they suspect Fonseca was the victim of a leadership battle at the embassy.

Fonseca, a 57-year-old career diplomat, had been asked to take charge of the Venezuelan Embassy and fire all the remaining staff, her elder brother Francisco Fonseca told The Associated Press last year.

The trial resumes April 2.

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Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas contributed to this report.

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