Manufacturing gang arrested for copying top-brand cigarettes
National Police, in a joint operation with the Civil Guard and the Tax Agency, have broken up a criminal group which specialised in the clan-destine manufacture of cigarettes and in their subsequent distribution in Spain and other countries of the Euro-pean Union.
Seven people from the Ukraine, Latvia and Russia have been arrested as alleged perpetrators of smuggling crimes, against industrial property and against the Public Treasury.
Investigations began in March 2019 when police received information warning of the arrival in Spain of an individual of Russian nationality who aimed to work in a clandestine tobacco factory in the province of Malaga. Another individual of Russian nationality had arrived in Spain in October. Police kept watch on a property located in a difficult access area of the Sierra de la Axarquía belonging to the municipality of Malaga in Sedella.
Six individuals were seen entering and leaving both the house and an adjoining warehouse, as well as others who accessed the farm in cars and vans. These vehicles were, on some occasions, rented to hinder a possible police investigation into them. With the follow-up of these people, a second industrial building was located in the town of Aguilar de la Frontera, in the province of Córdoba.
“Once the illegal activity was corroborated, a device coordinated by the three agencies was planned to proceed with the arrest of the members of the criminal group. Agents detected the entry of two vehicles and a truck at the Sedella estate, where they remained for an hour. After leaving it, they were followed and intercepted by investigators who verified how they transferred a total of 54,500 packs of tobacco from a well-known brand,” said a police spokesman.
Two more inspections were carried out in the aforementioned industrial buildings, as well as a raid on a dwelling. All this allowed the arrest of the seven people who formed the group. In addition to the intervened brand, evidence was found that they also had material to manufacture cigarettes of a second brand, also well known.
The final product was distributed in vans mainly in Andalusia.