- Police say the smugglers are taking advantage of the inactivity at the border due to Covid-19 to bring in illegal products.
- The officers say they are ready to deal with illegal importers.
Law enforcement agencies will deal decisively with traders smuggling outlawed goods from Uganda through the Busia border.
County police commander John Nyoike on Wednesday told the Star on the phone that officers in the border county are closing in on a ring of smugglers illegally importing outlawed beer into the country.
He said the smugglers are also involved in unlawful importation of bhang.
“We led an operation in which we confiscated bhang, which we are convinced originated from Uganda,” Nyoike said.
“We made the raids but unfortunately the owners of the homes where the illegal goods were found were away. We suspect they must have been tipped off about our operation and they ran away.”
Nyoike spoke a day after county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri led a team of security officers in destroying an assortment of Uganda-branded beer and bhang imported from the neighbouring country. Kanyiri on Tuesday said law enforcers are determined to contain lawlessness across the county that borders Uganda.
The latest raid took place in Marachi, Matayos subcounty. Nyoike said police are also investigating the possibility of some of the houses being used as stores for imported beer products and bhang.
The operation took place three months after Matayos deputy county commissioner Joseph Onyango led a team of security officers in another operation in which more than 10,000 bottles of Ugandan liquor were seized.
The operation, according to Onyango, targeted Marachi, an area he described as a den of thugs. One police officer was injured during the operation as residents resisted.
Among the items confiscated were 320 cartons of Empire Premium Gin, with 7,680 bottles of 200ml each. Also nabbed were 12 cartons of 07 Vodka containing 288 bottles and 144 bottles of Empire Cane Gin that had been stored in six cartons.
Ten crates containing 250 bottles of Eagle Larger were also confiscated. Police officers also seized 240 bottles of Garden Tiger Gin packed in 10 cartons, as well as five kilogrammes of bhang.
“This is an act of lawlessness. What is happening in Marachi is that the thugs have made the place a no-go zone for police officers and these illicit brews were extracted from that place with a lot of difficulty because they were fighting the police. They were using stones to fight the police and one of our officers was injured,” Onyango told reporters.