A 42-year-old woman is in custody after she was arrested by a multiagency security team, ferrying 250kgs of the endangered sandal wood species estimated to be worth Sh750,000.
Beth Wambui alias Ma Liam, was arrested at Athi river headed towards Mombasa, and the fine-grained pieces of wood recovered concealed in the trunk of her vehicle.
The aromatic tree is harvested illegally after the government outlawed its harvesting in 2007. However, unscrupulous traders continue to uproot the tree predominantly found in Baringo and Samburu counties.
The tree is harvested for its essential oil, which is extracted to manufacture medicines and cosmetics. It has been listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list of Threatened Species.
The suspect will be charged with dealing in endangered wild life species contrary to section 92(2) of the wild life conservation and management act.