Police uncover illegal brewery, seize adulterated alcohol

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The police in Lagos have arrested the owner of an illegal brewery, Benjamin Ojukwu, at Ojuwoye Market, in the Mushin area of the state.

Different brands of adulterated foreign alcohol were allegedly recovered from his shop on Market Road, Mushin, where he also lived with his family.

The brands include adulterated America Honey, Alfonso I, Olmeca, Hennessy, Best and Mc Gold, among others.

Newsmen learnt that the 55-year-old was apprehended on Friday by operatives of the Area D Command, Mushin, who acted on a tip-off.

It was gathered that the suspect had relocated to Lagos in 2015, after his brewery in Nnewi, Anambra State, was consumed by fire.

The Lagos State Police Command, Edgal Imohimi, who paraded the suspect on Tuesday at the command headquarters in Ikeja, said he had confessed to running the illegal brewery.

He said the command would work with relevant agencies to investigate the case, adding that the suspect would be charged to court after investigation.

He said, “Based on incredible intelligence available to the command that there was an illegal wine factory at Ojuwoye Market, Mushin, the Area D Commander, ACP Akinbayo Olasoji, and his men stormed the market and arrested Benjamin Ojukwu.

“A valid search warrant was executed in his shop which also serves as his house and various brands of wine as well as alcohol suspected to be adulterated were recovered. Empty bottles and labelled bottle corks of different types of wine and alcohol were also recovered.”

Ojukwu owned up to the crime, but said he only distilled three of the products seized by the police. He explained that the chemicals he used for producing the drinks were cheap, adding that he sold the products at the market prices of the original brands.

He said, “I came to Lagos in 2015 after my brewery factory in Nnewi got burnt. I moved down to Lagos, but I did not have money to establish another brewery. I started distilling Alfonso I, American Honey and Olmeca. I buy empty bottles of the products. I also go to clubs to pick empty bottles.

“The chemicals I use in producing them are common in the market. I buy them between N100 and N200. I sell a bottle of Olmeca for N900. I was selling the products around the market when my wife called me on the phone that some policemen were looking for me.

“I stocked my shop with Hennessy, Mc Dowells and some other drinks so that people would not be suspicious of my operations.”

Apart from Ojukwu, different gang members were paraded for car snatching, cultism and robbery while weapons such as cutlasses, axes, daggers and charms reportedly recovered from them were displayed.

The CP, Imohimi, stated that the command had seized 188 guns and ammunition in line with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that individuals in possession of firearms should surrender the weapons to the police.

“The breakdown of the guns is as follows: 38 pump-action rifles, six Ak-47 rifles, 12 double-barrelled rifles, 11 single-barrelled rifles, 70 single-barrelled locally-made cut-to-size shot guns, 42 locally-made double-barrelled shot guns, 18 locally-made revolver pistols and three berretta pistols. A total number of 220 cartridges and 60 7.62mm Ak-47 ammunition were also recovered,” he added.

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