Raid on British-run underground cigarette family revealed trapped workers
Police discovered Europe’s firstever underground factory run by a British gang which churned out thousands of cigarettes every day.
The facility was hidden under horse stables and had a complete production line that allowed the manufacture of more than 3,500 cigarettes per hour.
Twenty people have been arrested, including one of the leaders of the organisation, D.D. of English nationality, who was fleeing from the British authorities for crimes related to drug trafficking and forgery of identity document
When the agents accessed the clandestine factory, they located six workers inside with serious breathing difficulties, due to the cut of the power supply that provided electricity to the facilities.
Operation “Hannibal” was carried out on the Costa del Sol following a tip-off that an illegal tobacco scam was being operated in Malaga by citizens of British, Lithuanian and Ukrainian origin.
Raids were carried out at 13 houses and several industrial buildings which led to the seizure of 153,000 packets of tobacco ready for sale, 17,600 kilograms of loose tobacco, 20 kilograms of hashish and 144 kg of marijuana, as well as the dismantling of an indoor plantation of this same drug.
Police said the gang went to great lengths to try and cover up the illegal underground factory, including putting heavy industrial machinery on top of the trap door which led to the hidden rooms.
The gang leaders were arrested in the morning but never told police until later that six workers were trapped underneath and could not get out. A generator had been turned off so there was no air getting through to them and because the bunker was sound-proofed, there cries for help and hammering on the doors could not be heard by the police.
“They would have died if not for one of the police officers who discovered the hidden entrance,” said a spokesman for the Spanish Civil Guard.