Turkish police seize 5,000 liters of bootleg alcohol in Istanbul raid
Anti-smuggling teams detained three persons and seized 5,000 liters of bootleg alcohol, as well as distillation devices and barrels, in a raid in Istanbul’s Fatih district on Dec. 20, ahead of New Year celebrations.
Law enforcement officials displayed the seized objects to members of the press at the Anti-Smuggling Directorate’s local office after busting the factory, which was reportedly brewing bootleg vodka and rakı, an anise-flavored alcoholic drink popular in Turkey.
Legal procedures of the three detained persons are ongoing at the anti-smuggling office, Doğan News Agency reported on Dec. 20.
Turkish media outlets have in recent years reported a rise in alcohol poisoning from a rise bootleg alcohol production. The government currently levies some of the world’s highest taxes on alcohol and tobacco, which analysts say has encouraged increased smuggling and illegal production.
Over the past month the police have inspected 250 businesses in Istanbul, shuttering 11 of them, as part of ongoing operations against restaurants, bars and clubs that purchase bootleg alcoholic beverage, endangering customers’ health.
In that time anti-smuggling teams have seized 12,000 liters of bootleg alcohol, including 130,000 bottles of bootleg rakı, whiskey and vodka, 920 bottles of alcoholic beverages that are not approved by the Turkish Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPKD), 27,000 emptied bottles, barrels used in alcohol brewery, and four unregistered guns.
The officials also subjected 46 persons to legal procedures following the raids.