In October 2021, Charles Mbugua dared to do what many victims would only imagine or discuss with bosom friends in private.
He came out in the open and detailed how his drink was spiked at an entertainment joint in Ndumberi, Kiambu County.
Stupefied, he lost money and a mobile phone, leaving him shell-shocked. He had fallen prey to the now infamous ‘mchele’ gang.
Before he came out, he wrote to the Nation: “I have just read an article on the Narok farmer who was drugged and Sh800,000 stolen. I am also a victim. I was drugged and lost Sh500 from my local bank account, Sh10,000 from a mobile money wallet, Sh73,000 from another mobile banking transaction and [an] iPhone 11 Pro Max.”
With the recent killing of Mugo Muvota, victims are coming out to narrate their ordeals at the hands of the “stupefying queens”.
A detective who had tracked down the gang in Nairobi but now works in Naivasha said Muvota (the name on his identity card) had been arrested several times in connection with the drinks spiking business.
“We also managed to arrest the women they were working with and took them to court. Their tentacles were widespread,” the detective told the Nation.
He said the gang had spread to Naivasha and is linked to a series of spiking incidents that had senior police officers on edge. In October last year, a con artist made away with Sh800,000 belonging to a wheat farmer. He had just sold his wheat and decided to go to Naivasha to make merry, but was easily spotted by the scheming women and ended up losing his hard-earned cash.
That same month, a family came searching for their relative who was drugged and spent the entire day locked up in low-end lodging. He lost Sh20,000 and was left sprawled on a bed.
Within hours, another victim lost Sh287,000 to the fraudsters. Just like the others, he was lured into a flea-infested lodging and dumped there.
He gave out his pin number and the schemers withdrew the cash via mobile money. He was among the numbers that trooped to the police station to report the matter at the time.
The police found it interesting that the plotters had wired the money to the mobile phone of another theft victim before finally withdrawing it, throwing the ongoing investigation into a spin.
“It was made to look like the victims were stealing from each other,” the investigators said. The devious lot also stole Sh57,000 and another Sh50,000. All the victims had been led to dingy lodgings with the suspects escaping into thin air. The police say all of them hail from Githurai 44 in Nairobi where the Muvota gang mostly operated from.
The officer said that, because of the heightened operation targeting the fraudsters, spiking incidents in Naivasha and its environs have drastically reduced, with only one incident having been reported about two weeks ago.
“It seems the thieves were all linked to a central command,” said the detective. Naivasha police boss Samuel Waweru said the gang members operated as a unit and had a base in Nairobi.
“Spiking incidents have reduced drastically since the shooting incident and the subsequent events that followed,” he said.
Mr Waweru cited a spiking incident involving his friend that happened in Kisumu. “Upon locating the phone signals, the point was Githurai in Nairobi, further [suggesting] that the gang worked as a unit,” he said.