April 28, 2017 Kingston, Jamaica

The Jamaican Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime (C-TOC) Branch conducted a series of raids aimed at counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods such as sneakers, CD’s, DVD’s Handbags and household appliances have become billion dollar a year industry on the Island.  The investigators found substantial amounts of all the items they were suspecting to recover including guns and ammunition. What they discovered in these raids is a new twist on counterfeiting that imitates a core Jamaican industry. The agents uncovered counterfeit rum in qualities that have not been confiscated in other operations of this kind.

Two huge drums containing industrial chemicals were discovered in a makeshift distillery. The cleaning products are synthesized to extract the industrial alcohol which is then used in the fake rum. Deputy Superintendent Carl Berry, of C-TOC, told the Jamaica Gleaner news service, “What they are doing is taking alcohol that is intended for the clean-up market – meaning, to clean tiles –…and they are using a creative process that they have found on the Internet to move it from what it is into a form that is capable of allowing you to drink it and get the same vibes as you would if it were true alcohol,”

The Deputy Superintendent warned of the deadly effects of drinking rum containing these chemicals. He noted that the fake rum when consumed can cause organ damage and even death. “So, we are urging people to be wary of purchasing alcohol that may look and smell like rum but, in fact, is not rum.”

He called on called on the Island’s legitimate rum producers to join in the fight to eradicate the illegal rum distillers. J. Wray & Nephew Limited, a major rum producer in Jamaica have already partnered with police in this effort. Six people were arrested relating to the makeshift distillery discovered in this raid. The size of the operation leads investigators to believe that others are operating throughout the Island Nation.

The eradication of Fake Rum in Jamaica is essential for the protection of the health of its citizens, and to ensure that it does not affect the tourist trade.

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