EU says clamping down on black market tobacco is a priority
Police have dismantld an illegal factory which was churning out two million cigarettes every day to flood the black market.
Eight people were arrested in the Malaga disrict and ten in Granada during a series of early-morning police raids. They include the ringleader who masterminded the whole operation.
Police said a massive factory based in Granada was producing as many cigarettes as a legal one. It cost around 2.5 million pounds to set up in the first place and when raided, ten tons of tobacco leaf was seized, together with four tons of fine-cut tobacco for roll-ups and 4.5 million cigarettes.
“Everything was carried out on the premises, from the manufacture to the production, creation of the complete packs, packing onto pallets and then their distribution,” said a police spokesman.
Further investigations revealed the gang was developing its own brand which it intended to distribute outside the legal channels.
The factory workers, mostly of Ukrainian and Bulgarian nationality, lived in different safe houses in Malaga. Their shifts were more than 12 hours long in “unhealthy facilities without minimum safety measures.”
All the raw materials were shipped in from outside Spain and stored in another secret warehouse in Granada to safeguard the location of the factory.
The European Union says tobacco smuggling is one of their priorities and more international investigations are continuing.
This operation, condenamed Dolium, involved the State Border Guad Service of Ukraine, European Agency EUBAM, Police of the Ministry of the Interior of Bulgaria, Border Police of Romania, Police of Greece and EUROPOL.