DURING the early hours of the morning of Wednesday April 7, Gibraltar Customs officers, were involved in curtailing a tobacco smuggling operation in the area of the Small Boats Marina.
The land crew arrested five individuals concerned with the illegal exportation of a commercial quantity of cigarettes.
Simultaneously, two patrol vessels engaged in a high-speed chase of a small RHIB with two occupants on board, carrying boxes of tobacco.
The vessel performed evasive manoeuvres in an attempt to escape and in such process the passenger, together with three master cases (150 cartons), fell into the sea.
The individual was rescued and arrested on several tobacco related offences concerning the recovered cigarettes whilst the coxswain of the RHIB managed to flee into Spain.
The Gibraltar Government has taken this opportunity to highlight the risks taken by the smugglers engaged in this illicit activity as well as the difficult and dangerous scenarios that Customs officers find themselves working in, both on land and at sea.