Police are seeking to hold three suspects found with 1,474 bags of contraband sugar for 21 days pending investigations.
Dahir Hassan, Mohamed Ahmed and Ahmed Sheikh were arrested on Tuesday after they found repacking the consignment in Eastleigh.
They were arraigned yesterday but did not take plea as police applied to detain them. The three are being held at the Shauri Moyo police station.
Milimani principal magistrate Martha Mutuku will rule on the police application tomorrow.
Corporal Moses Gitauthi they needed more time to expand investigations to Mombasa where the sugar consignment docked. It was shipped in from Brazil.
Authorities also want to visit Mumias and Kibos sugar factories. The suspects were arrested with repackaging bags with the two companies trademarks.
It is believed the sugar was to be taken to the factories for refining.
Gitauthi said the suspects might compromise investigations if released on bail.
"There is a likelihood that they can facilitate the removal of the sugar from the stores and interfere with evidence," Gitauthi said.
The officer said the matter was of immense public interest because it touches on the health of Kenyans given the sugar was marked as unfit for human consumption.
Gitauthi also told the court the suspects were a flight risk. There identities are yet to be ascertained.
The investigation is being carried out by a multi-agency team comprising the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Kenya Revenue
Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Government Chemist and the office of Director of Public Prosecutions.
The suspects were arrested after a tip-off from the public. They were found repacking the sugar and selling it to unsuspecting customers, police said.
Gtauthi said they were following crucial leads that could lead to the arrest of more suspects.