Kitengela police bust drug racket where bars sell bhang packaged as cigarettes

Kitengela changaa

Kitengela Police Station Deputy OCS (right)  displays changaa confiscated from a popular pub in Noonkopir Migingo estate on June 23, 2033.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Police in Kitengela have uncovered a racket where bhang peddlers repackage the drug as cigarettes.

The officers swung into action following a tip-off from members of the public about new tactics being used by the unscrupulous dealers to evade arrest.

A contingent of police officers from Kitengela Police Station, led by OCS David Ole Shani, raided three suspected drug hotspots including Migingo, Kyangombe and a popular pub in the township on Thursday night.

Six suspects were arrested during the operation where two kilograms of dried bhang, 30 sticks of bhang and 20 litres of changa'aa were impounded.

In a local pub in the Kyang'ombe estate, the officers found two kilograms of bhang. 

The hawker was arrested in another raid last week with 900 rolls of bhang and was fined Sh70,000 in a Kajiado court. He paid the fine and was released. Police suspect that the contraband came from Ethiopia.

Since the first operation last week, a suspected drug dealer said to be a former military officer, has gone into hiding.  

A police source told Nation.Africa that they were pursuing a middle-aged woman suspected to be bringing the contraband into Kitengela from a neighbouring country.

"We will soon smoke him out of his secret hideouts. We are also looking for a middle-aged woman suspected to be his supplier," he said.

In another pub, 30 rolls of bhang were seized, wrapped in packets of common cigarette brands.  

Sticks of bhang were packed into the cigarette packets and placed on an open counter. 

The police have launched a major crackdown on all joints selling cigarettes in Kitengela to get rid of marijuana. Cake joints suspected of lacing their products with bhang are also on the police radar.

In the Migingo area of the Noonkopir township, police officers had to force their way through a window into a dingy bar said to be a chang'aa den.

The owner of the club poured out the liquor to tamper with the evidence and escaped. Police recovered at least 30 litres of chang'aa and assorted second-generation liquor from a neighbouring shop.

Isinya Sub-County Police Commander Patrick Manyasi said they had cast their nets wide to apprehend the suspects. 

"We have made a breakthrough in uncovering how they sell it (bhang) openly. We are now going after the suppliers," he said.

He warned drug peddlers that the government will not watch them destroy the youth.

"Let them know that they can run but they cannot hide. It will not be business as usual from now on. Operations will be intensified," he added.