By Ian Mutiso

A police operation in Juja, Kiambu County, unearthed counterfeit alcohol worth 800,000 Kenya Shillings.

According to Charles Muriithi, Juja Deputy County Commissioner, the alcoholic beverages were discovered in a private home at Kenyatta Road estate, where they were being packed before being sold to adjacent markets.

Muriithi said security personnel conducted the raid after receiving a tip from the public.

He also said they are pursuing the owner of the illegal distillery and several of her staff who escaped when police arrived.

“We have recovered stickers from the Kenya Revenue Authority, an alcohol meter, and hundreds of branded boxes for different businesses, including Platinum Distillers, Patiala Distillers(k)Ltd, and Kenya Wines Agencies (KWAL),” he said.

The deputy county commissioner urged the judiciary to prosecute such criminals harshly since their actions amount to economic sabotage because they fail to pay taxes and put unwary Kenyans at risk of ingesting hazardous drugs.

Raids on illicit distilleries and breweries have been successful after police officers shut down four other illegal distilleries over the past two months.

Illegal breweries have led to a rise in the use of cheaply made fake alcohol and a high number of addicts in the county.

According to Platinum Distillers’ Marketing Director Onesmus Muturi, counterfeit drinks put consumers in danger.

“As the counterfeiters sell their illicit liquor cheaply and avoid paying taxes, other legitimate wine and spirit distillers have also complained about losing market share to them,” added Muturi.