Police in Nakuru Thursday evening seized more than 450,000 liters of adulterated petroleum products from an illegal fuel cartel operating along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
County Commissioner, Joshua Nkanatha, said officers drawn from the elite General Service Unit (GSU) deployed from Nairobi conducted an impromptu crackdown on five stations all along the highway and recovered 183,900 litres of diesel, 221,510 litres of kerosene and 40, 000 litres of petrol.
The stations were suspected to be operating the illegal fuel business.
During the swoop, 17 suspects were arrested in connection with the businesses, three in Rongai, one in Pipeline and the others in Molo.
The officers also managed to confiscate 22 tankers used for storage of the petroleum products, 16 generators used to pump fuel to the tankers, 34 metallic drums, 36 horse pipes and five lorries used in transportation.
According to Nkanatha, the petroleum is illegally siphoned in large quantities from the tankers that transport the product from the Kenya Pipeline Company before being delivered to their respective destinations.
“We suspect that the petrol is mixed with kerosene and later released to the petrol stations as pure product. When motorists buy the product, it causes mechanical damage to the vehicle engines,” said Nkanatha.
Nkanatha, however, said disciplinary action will be awaiting the officers who allowed the business to thrive.
He further urged members of the public to report such cases to help the police protect them from unscrupulous business activities.
Investigations are still ongoing to establish the masterminds behind the cartels.
The suspects will be charged in court Friday.