Gang advertised illegal tobacco sales on internet and “earned millions”
Police have made the largest-ever discovery of illegal tobacco in Spain, seizing a stash worth more than six million euros and arresting eleven people.
The raw material was smuggled in from Poland and Bangladesh and then sold by an international gang to smaller cells who would then make the cigarettes and packets to sell direct to the public.
The cheeky group got their customers by advertising on the internet and even posted a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the tobacco and roll up cigarettes.
More than 41 tons of raw tobacco was seized during a special police operation which involved raids on nine properties in Spain, inclu-ding Jaén where the operation was based.
“We also found bags of fiished cigarettes, lots of single cigarettes waiting to be put into packets and machinery,” said a spokes-man for the Civil Guard.
The eleven have been charged with smuggling and fraud estimated at 5.5 million euros through the evasion of VAT, taxes and import duty. The value of the tobacco seized is put at 6.64 million euros.
Police said the website used a server in France and a domain in Bangladesh and used machinery imported from the United States.
Their customer base was said to be “growing” after advertising the sale of tobacco to be made up into cigarettes, complete with the tutorial video.
Seven vehicles and eight computers were also seized and further arrests have not been ruled out.