The suspect will face charges for posing a threat to public health.
Police officers arrested the suspect, who has a criminal record for counterfeiting and smuggling, in the town of Selouane, approximately 12 kilometers south of Nador, on Monday, June 29.
At the time of the arrest, the suspect was carrying 228 bottles of alcoholic beverages bearing the name of a false brand in his car, said a statement from Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).
Following search operations in the suspect’s home, security services seized 50 liters of medical alcohol, 1,630 bottle caps, 1,238 labels of a foreign brand of wine, two liters of another wine, and a highly-concentrated alcoholic drink, as well as a batch of bottles and containers allegedly used for criminal activity.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect mixes contraband medical alcohol with alcoholic drinks to make counterfeit beverages from his home. The suspect then puts the mixture in bottles, labeling them with a false brand and selling them as real foreign drinks.
The manufactured drinks very likely pose a threat to public health, DGSN said.
Police officers put the defendant in custody, pending a judicial investigation carried out by the public prosecutor’s office to determine all the details about the case.
Albeit forbidden by the state’s religion, Islam, alcohol consumption is relatively widespread in Morocco compared to other countries in the MENA region. According to a 2017 report from the Office of International Studies and Research on Alcoholic Beverages and Spirits, Moroccans consume approximately 120 million liters of alcoholic beverages every year, 68.3% of which is beer.
Morocco is also one of the major producers of alcoholic beverages in Africa, most notably wine. According to Spanish news outlet Periodistas, Morocco is the second largest wine exporter in Africa, behind South Africa.
Morocco exports its locally-produced wine to European countries, such as Spain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as other countries, including the US, Japan, and China.
Morocco’s wine production is 77% red wine, 16.4% rose and blush wine, and 6.6% white wine. Blush or gray wine, also known as Moroccan wine, is a product only made in Morocco.