Durban – Three suspects were arrested after police discovered and dismantled an illegal distillery in Pinetown on Tuesday.
The Durban metro police service said that its officers and SAPS officers conducted a joint operation in Westmead in Pinetown. This resulted in the arrest of three suspects who were arrested for illegally manufacturing counterfeit Smirnoff vodka (uMzambiya).
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said that police in Pinetown worked with officers from the eThekwini District Trio Task Team to arrest three suspects who were caught manufacturing illegal spirits at a clandestine distillery in Westmead on Tuesday.
Netshiunda said that in an operation involving officers from Crime Intelligence, KZN Liquor Board, a courier company and a brewery expert from the affected alcohol brand, intelligence was gathered about a company which was manufacturing counterfeit liquor and an operational plan was put in motion.
He said that during observation, it was uncovered that the gates to the building were always shut. However, the suspects were continuing with their illegal activities behind closed doors.
“Upon tactically penetrating into the building, police found three men in the act of bottling self-made liquor into bottles branded with the name of a well-known vodka brand,” Netshiunda said.
“Branded boxes, tons of liquor, a matrix printer and bottle caps, all valued at approximately R400 000, were recovered and seized. The three suspects, aged between 29 and 42 years old, will appear in court soon.”
Last July, a 45-year-old man was arrested for illegally manufacturing alcohol.
At the time, Durban metro police spokesperson Colonel Boysie Zungu said that their officers received information and followed it regarding a 45-year-old man suspected of illegally manufacturing alcohol in Amaotana, north of Durban.
Members conducted an operation in Amaotana and found 12 full 200ml bottles of fake Smirnoff vodka, 12 full 750ml bottles of fake Smirnoff vodka in a case, four 25 litres of fake Smirnoff vodka, brand-new Smirnoff vodka boxes for packaging, multiple Smirnoff vodka caps, a jar and a red funnel for filling the bottles.
The suspect was arrested and charged under Act 37 of 1997 Sec 2(1)(b) Counterfeit Goods Act and Act 59 of 2003 Sec 4(2) Liquor Act in Verulam SAPS.
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