Kitengela brewers transport chang’aa in women’s handbags to evade arrest

illicit brews
Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Police officers in Kitengela have uncovered a new trick used by illegal brew dealers. The dealers are using women's handbags to transport chang'aa to evade arrest during raids.

During a police raid in Noonkopir estate on Tuesday afternoon, officers seized at least 50 litres of chang'aa hidden in a woman's handbag. The illegal brew was packed in disposable plastic bags. The unscrupulous traders are also said to be using women to peddle chang'aa. 

“In the past, unscrupulous traders used to transport Chang'aa to Kitengela in motor vehicles. We know that women now carry the illegal brew in their handbags. In some pubs, the handbags are used to deceive police officers," said Kitengela OCS David Ole Shani during the raid.  

He also said police had put several motorcycles suspected of transporting Chang'aa from Nairobi to Kitengela on radar.

A contingent of armed plain-clothes police officers led by their Kitengela commander, OCS David Ole Shani, raided a notorious illicit brew den in the Migingo area, seized at least 100 litres of Chang'aa and arrested revellers 

The owner of the two pubs located in a residential building, managed to evade the police dragnet.

Here, the number of women found drinking rivalled that of their male counterparts. A middle-aged woman was found drinking with her young baby on her back during the raid.

"In this area, despite the constant police raids, women and youths continue to patronise the drinking dens," said Magdalene Mbatia, a resident.

Acting on a tip-off, police also raided a film shop frequented by youths and discovered at least 500 rolls of bhang. A 21-year-old operator was arrested for selling bhang, especially to youths and minors.

A raid was also carried out on a clandestine pub that was being used as a hardware store, and the owner was arrested.

Residents want the crackdown to be intensified to save the youth from alcoholism and drug abuse.

"We appreciate the ongoing police crackdown, but we want more to be done to rehabilitate youths who are already addicted to alcohol and drugs," said Mr Aron Ng'ang'a.

 Isinya sub-County Police Commander Patrick Manyasi said the crackdown would be intensified and the suspects would be charged in court.

 "The suspects are changing their tactics to evade the law, but they should realise that they have nowhere to hide. We are beating them at their own game," said Manyasi, urging the public to volunteer information to the police in the fight against illicit brewing.

 A fortnight ago, police officers seized 810 litres of ethanol, fake Kenya Revenue Authority stamps and assorted liquor bottles from a house in Thone Grove area in Kitengela town.

The ethanol was transported in 20-litre jerrycans. It was concealed in hay in a secluded compound in High View Estate. One suspect was arrested and charged in court. He was released by a Kajado court on a Sh50,000 bond with a surety of a similar amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh50,000.