16 workers were arrested after police raided an illegal liquor distillery in Athi-river Mavoko Sub-county in Machakos county on Monday night.
Fake Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) stamps, packed branded liquor (over 200 cartons) and drums of ethanol were recovered during the operation.
The team led by Athi-river director of Criminal Investigations (DCIO) John Kanda raided the premises following a tip-off from members of the public who are said to have spotted a dubious late-night business in the premises with several godowns.
Following the raid, it was established the distillery was operating illegally and packaging a mixture of ethanol and water in bottles, branding, packaging and sticking fake KRA stamps before the well-packaged liquor is ferried to the market.
KRA officials immediately established the stamps were fake after establishing there is an existing brand of packaged liquor (Blue Mountain) in the market.
The officials said the packaged liquor would have led to a Ksh 2.5 million tax loss through tax evasion.
Athi-river deputy county commissioner Charles Wambugu says the multi-agency has launched a major crackdown on illegal liquor distilleries to curb the illegal business.
Wambugu has sent a stern warning to such entities saying it endangers the lives of consumers
He says the owner of the distillery is on the run and a manhunt has been launched to establish his whereabouts.
"The director of criminal investigations has done a commendable job. Members of the public are also key in ensuring they give vital information that leads to the identification and raid of such illegal businesses. It is unfortunate that some rogue businessmen have become a man-eater society and no longer care about the health of product consumers. We as the security team working with another government agency will not tolerate this unruly behaviour that exposes the health of Kenyans. The cartels should be warned that their days are numbered, "the Dcc warned.
Wambugu further says the security team will gain forceful entrance to highly guarded godowns that are dominant in Athiriver to establish which kind of business is carried out.
"Securing a godown with a perimeter wall, electric fence and well-guarded gates does not scare away government. We will carry out a thorough crackdown on all Godowns to ensure they only engage in a legal business. We are closely working with police forces, DCI, intelligence officers KRA and KEBS, " Wambugu added.
The arrested workers are being held at Athi-river police station for further interrogation as the impounded liquor is set for further analysis by KEBS.