Eastern European cigarette racket busted in Spain

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National Police
One of the boxes containing hundreds of packs of cigarettes

RAIDS in Madrid have seen the arrest of 13 people and seizure of 61,205 packs of cigarettes, €74,320 in cash and two vehicles.

Officers from the National Police and Madrid Municipal Police investigated the sudden influx of contraband tobacco into the city and identified seven Ukrainians and six Bulgarians who were working together to import cigarettes into Spain.

There was a combination of counterfeited brands as well as genuine packets imported clandestinely from Belarus, Poland and Ukraine which were not declared to the authorities and were sold without any tax being paid over.

The cigarettes were sold through shops which catered to Eastern European customers and stocks were moved around the city on a regular basis in order to escape detection, although the bulk of the cigarettes seized were found in a single warehouse.

Most of the cigarettes flowing into Madrid were brought overland from Poland in pallets of boxes containing metal plates and declared falsely as clothes being shipped to imaginary addresses.

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