Police raid Istanbul wedding hall over bootleg alcohol, detain five suspects

Gendarmerie forces on April 10 raided a wedding hall that included an underground bootleg alcohol plant in Istanbul's Başakşehir district, detaining five suspects, Doğan News Agency has reported.  
Thousands of liters of bootleg alcohol stored in industrial bottles and ready for delivery across Turkey was seized during the raid. 

Five suspects, including four foreign nationals, were detained in simultaneous raids in Istanbul's Başakşehir, Küçükçekmece, Sultangazi districts.

The gendarmerie also seized three specially designed distillation appliances, 1,000 liters of un-bottled bootleg rakı, 1,000 liters of ethyl alcohol, 365 liters of bootleg vodka, 289 liters of bottled bootleg rakı, 18 liters of bootleg whiskey, 200 fake banderols, 7,000 fake crown caps, and thousands of fake labels. 

Turkish media outlets in recent years have reported a rise in alcohol poisoning from 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.

In February, police in the Aegean province of İzmir seized at least 40 tons of bootlegged rakı and whiskey and 100 tons of raw materials used in the production of alcoholic beverages, Doğan News Agency reported.

The raid was conducted on Feb. 27 in the Bornova and Kemalpaşa districts, with police officers saying the amount of seized bootlegged beverages was the largest amount to ever have been apprehended.

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