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Watch as police make more than 20 arrests after illegal tobacco network with factory in Malaga is smashed

Officers uncovered five manufacturing factories and two warehouses scattered across Malaga and Seville provinces in Andalucía

SUR

Malaga

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 12:46

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Authorities in Spain have busted an illegal tobacco operation which involved five factories and two tobacco leaf warehouses in Malaga and Seville provinces.

A joint operation involving the national tax agency's customs surveillance service, Guardia Civil and National Police dismantled the criminal organisation after discovering more than 3,000 kilos of contraband tobacco and more than 9,000 kilos of precursor material for the illegal manufacture of tobacco products. The group is accused of defrauding two million euros.

The investigation started at the end of 2023 after detecting an industrial warehouse in the town of Mollina in Malaga that was being used as a place to hide, store, prepare and manufacture contraband tobacco, which was then distributed throughout Spain.

Officers were then able to identify some of the members of the organisation and launched an operation in different parts of Andalucía which led to the discovery of numerous locations, warehouses and homes of interest.

Once the daily work routine carried out by the members of the network had been established, the first phase of the investigation took place at the start of April, with the arrest of 11 people allegedly linked to an illegal cigarette factory in Mollina.

An assembly line was set up in this warehouse, consisting of various machines used in the processing and chopping of tobacco leaf, packaging machines and other materials. Both inside and in a vehicle in the vicinity, 1,209 kilos of ground tobacco and 2,880 kilos of strip, chopped tobacco leaf, three grinding machines and various precursor materials necessary to carry out the initial phase of tobacco preparation were seized.

Continuing the investigations, a second phase of the operation was carried out at the end of April, which ended with a further 13 arrests and five raids, three in the province of Seville and two in the province of Malaga. Three inspections were also carried out in industrial warehouses in Seville (two) and Malaga (one), which led to the dismantling of four rolling factories and two warehouses for chopped tobacco leaf and the seizure of more than 6,490 kilos of strip tobacco leaf and 2,500 kilos of minced tobacco leaf.

Weapons with silencers and a catapult

During the operation, five firearms were also seized (a submachine gun, a rifle with telescopic sight, a pistol with silencer, a shotgun that was reported stolen and a blank pistol ), three air guns (two revolvers and a carbine), five bladed weapons (four machetes and a catana), some 75,175 euros in cash, 12 vehicles (including several high-end vehicles and two lorries) and machinery for tobacco processing.

According to investigators, the group committed an estimated two million euros worth of fraud.

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