Detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have intercepted 80 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes worth Sh6 million.
The contraband was nabbed at Salgaa along Eldoret-Nakuru highway in a lorry by police officers who were acting on an intelligence information.
The officers managed to arrest three people including the owner of the lorry, driver and another person. However, two more lorries that were also loaded with cigarettes at the Busia border are still being sought according to DCI.
“Acting on intelligence, the detectives laid an ambush at Salagaa Area along Eldoret-Nakuru highway where they intercepted a lorry. 80 boxes containing uncustomed cigarettes worth Sh6 million were today (Wednesday) recovered,” read the tweet by DCI.
“Two more lorries believed to have been loaded at Busia border and ferrying similar goods are still being sought,” read another tweet.
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The illegal goods are believed to have been smuggled into the country through Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) something that has exposed the laxity at the modern border.
The seizure of counterfeit cigarettes came one week after police in Busia last Wednesday nabbed a cache of contrabands in a Busia slum.
Some of the contraband nabbed in stores in Marachi estimated to be worth millions of shillings were liquor brands 320 boxes of empire, 75 boxes of simba waragi, 12 boxes of Vodka, several crates of Eagle Extra Beer, pairs of shoes, bhang, kangara and changaa.
Unlike before when well-connected smugglers could source the goods from Uganda and transport them to various destinations, they are now ferrying the illegal goods through porous points and hide them in a Marachi slum and Cool-In in Busia town before they are transported.
The raid was carried out amid resistance from the youth popularly known as ‘jobless’ who were protecting the owners of the contraband from being arrested.
At least 28 people were arrested during the afternoon crackdown, which forced police to shoot in the air several times to ward off the angry mob, who were hurling stones at the security officers injuring one.
Busia Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Onyango told the media that some smugglers have employed youth for protection against arrest by police.
“Some thugs have made Marachi a no-go-zone for police because they are paid by smugglers to protect them but we are issuing a warning that we will deal with them,” said Onyango.
Following the incident, senior security officers in the region have vowed to deal with Marachi youth until sanity prevails. “Police are not going to relent on the crackdown, it is just but the beginning,” said Onyango.