Police on Wednesday seized 450kg of bhang valued at Sh13 million in Arapal area of Marsabit county.
The haul was destined for Nairobi when a multi-agency team intercepted the water bowser that was carrying it.
The driver of the lorry jumped and escaped during the operation.
The owner of the consignment was later arrested in Nairobi’s Githurai area and was expected in court later.
A team from Transnational Organised Crime Unit launched a manhunt for the driver of the vehicle.
Most of the bhang seized in the region originates in Ethiopia.
Moyale town, the largest of the trading centres, stands out as the capital of contraband that includes smuggling of Kenya’s popular variety of bhang.
Other border points used by the crooks to smuggle in Ethiopian bhang include Sololo, Uran, Forolle and Dukana.
Police say dealers use peddlers to bring the bhang into Kenya in small batches using unofficial or unpatrolled routes to smuggle in the contraband especially at night, with Moyale town accounting for more than 75 per cent.
Light vehicles, boda bodas, donkey carts and couriers are also used to sneak in the cargo undetected along the border.
It’s from these centres that the bhang is transported all the way to Nairobi using two different routes – the direct Moyale-Nairobi highway via Marsabit town and Isiolo and the unofficial route, a cutline that runs from Funannyata in Sololo to Yamicha plains of Merti subcounty in Isiolo.
Last November, two people were arrested with Sh1.5 million worth of bhang in a Toyota Prado in Isiolo town and charged in an Isiolo court.
Five other people among them a police constable and a sergeant based in Mariera camp in Igembe Central, Meru county, were arrested with 600kg of bhang worth Sh15 million by multi-sectoral security team, including the Army, based in Archers Post.
The haul was in a GSU Land Cruiser pick-up and a private Toyota Prado.
Days later a vehicle that managed to pass through several roadblocks in parts in upper Eastern including Meru (Igembe Central and Tigania East) was seized in Makuyu, Muran’ga county, with bhang with a street value of Sh14.5 million.