The over 400 bags of coffee that were recovered on Monday hidden in a rental house in Juja, Kiambu County could have been stolen from Uganda, police have said.
Central Region Police Coordinator Larry Kieng’, speaking exclusively to the Nation, said preliminary findings show that the coffee was intercepted while on transit from Uganda.
“We are still trying to verify the actual source but we have information that it could have been intercepted while being transported from Uganda to the Coast,” said Mr Kieng’.
The coffee, valued at Sh16 million, was seized by police, following a tipoff from residents who spotted people removing the bags from trucks to a rental house that is still under construction.
A police raid on the house led to the arrest of four suspects who had no documents to prove ownership of the valuable produce.
“The suspects are being interrogated by our officers as we [investigate] the origin of the coffee and where it was headed,” said the regional police boss.
COFFEE THEFT CARTELS
This comes as revelations emerged of a well-coordinated cartel involving millers, warehouse owners and transporters that has been stealing high grade coffee on transit.
According to police insights, the thefts are executed by truck drivers with links to millers, through coordinated operations that involve faking a hijacking.
The coffee is transported using all relevant documents but, along the way, it is later diverted into select warehouses, where it is offloaded with the help of the drivers and turn boys.
“We are dealing with a very dangerous and highly organised cartel.
“They are using a similar tactic as that used to steal fuel when it is being transported,” Mr Kieng’ added.
Police have started investigations on several warehouses and millers in Kiambu and Nairobi counties as part of efforts to uncover the coffee theft cartels.