A cab driver has confessed to selling American television producer Jeff Rice the tainted drugs which killed him in a hotel in Uganda, it emerged today.
Moses Kalanzi, a 23-year-old ‘special hire driver’, was arrested for allegedly supplying contaminated cocaine to Mr Rice and his assistant Kathryne Fuller, who has been left paralysed after taking the drug.
The driver is co-operating with police and could face charges for his role in the transaction, according to Ugandan newspaper the Daily Monitor.
‘There was constant communication between the special hire driver and Rice on phone about the purchase of the drugs,’ said a police spokesman. ‘So we want to know the source of the drugs and how it is trafficked into the country.’
Father-of-two Mr Rice, 39, who worked on the series The Amazing Race, was discovered slumped over a table bleeding from his nose and mouth at the Serena hotel in the capital, Kampala.
Police said that he died from using the cocaine with a ‘lethal additive’, contradicting their earlier assertion that he had swallowed the drug to conceal it from authorities.
Ms Fuller was found lying next to him. She has now regained consciousness but is paralysed down the right hand side of her body.
She is recovering in hospital but is being held in Uganda until police determine if she has committed drugs offences.
An official toxicology report confirmed the narcotic was in Jeff Rice’s blood, dispelling initial suspicions the father-of-two known for his work on the U.S. show ‘The Amazing Race,’ had been poisoned by attackers.
Police say a quantity of heroin was also discovered in the hotel room and they have arrested a local dealer who they suspect to have supplied the drugs.
Uganda police spokesperson Asuman Mugenyi said: ‘Rice … used cocaine which had lethal additives and that’s what killed him.’
Brad Nathanson, a private investigator and friend of Mr Rice, said he had been shown the toxicology report by police and there was no evidence of ‘foul play’ in Rice’s death.
He said: ‘In fact it was as a result of buying bad drugs, cocaine to be specific … it was a bad concoction.’
‘I have read the toxicology report … it shows that there were small traces of cocaine in their blood and urine.’
Mr Nathanson said he had travelled to Uganda as a friend of the Rice family following rumours he had been poisoned, and not for payment.
Mr Rice’s assistant, identified by police as Kathryne Fuller, was found unconscious at the same time Mr Rice’s body was discovered
Ugandan police said on Saturday they had arrested a man who confessed selling drugs to the pair who had been in the east African country working on a documentary.
Ms Fuller’s father said he was ‘disappointed, sad’ but would support his daughter, a South African.
‘We all do stupid things in life. Unfortunately this is a large mistake but we can’t exactly crucify her,’ Stewart Fuller said.
Mr Rice and Ms Fuller were believed to have voluntarily consumed the drugs, meaning she could be prosecuted under Uganda’s drug laws. Drug use can carry a jail term in Uganda.
As well as the Amazing Race, Mr Rice also worked on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars and the South African version of The Biggest Loser.
He is survived by daughters, ages 2 and 7.