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Massive seizure of 1.3 million euros worth of contraband 

PAGE 18 Massive seizure of 1.3  million euros worth of contraband tobacco

One of the biggest seizures in Spain of contraband tobacco, valued at more than 1,300,000 euros, has resulted in 14 arrests.

Another six people are being investigated and nine raids have been carried out in various homes and industrial buildings. Three of the detainees were employees of a parcel agency involved in the criminal organisation.

Police say the gang used chemicals without any type of sanitary control to improve the taste and smell of the tobacco.

The operation was carried out under the banner of “CAMOTE”, jointly developed by the Civil Guard and the Tax Agency. Eleven of those arrested were of Spanish and Cuban nationalities, aged between 28 and 58 years, whilst the other six are of Spanish nationality aged between 19 and 56.

The raids were carried out in different municipalities of Valencia and Seville, with 19,000 kilograms of tobacco being discovered, in addition to machines for the manufacture of tobacco products and heavy machinery for drying of the tobacco as well as sacks that contained chemical substances for their use in the elaboration of the final product.

 Likewise, four vehicles, 10,000 euros in cash, numerous documents related to the crimes investigated, computer equipment and a detonating weapon were seized.

 The operation began in November last year, when police learned of the existence of a criminal organisation that was introducing large consignments of illegal tobacco from Latvia. It was distributed throughout Spain and Portugal, through parcel companies or through direct sales.

 The detainees are accused of the crime of smuggling tobacco, crimes against public finances, money laundering, public health, documentary falsification and belonging to a criminal organisation.