Authorities in Spain have found an illegal cigarette factory harboring six trapped Ukrainian workers during an operation to find a drugs gang in Costa del Sol, reports Al Jazeera.
The men were trapped in the illegal underground facility and running out of air after a generator that pumped in fresh air was turned off. The entrance was covered with cargo and, initially, authorities could not hear the men shouting and banging on the roof of the soundproof factory.
The factory was equipped with bunk beds and living quarters and was built 13 feet underground. The workers were blindfolded when being led to the facility and were not allowed to leave unaccompanied. The men worked there for two weeks at a time and were reportedly paid €7,000 ($7,574) a month. Police said the workers were exposed to toxic materials in conditions that were “dangerous.”
Authorities said the factory produced at least 3,500 cigarettes an hour and generated profits of more than €600,000 per week. The facility had been in operation for a year.
Twelve British suspects have been arrested after a series of raids last week where more than 3 million cigarettes, more than 17 metric tons of rolling tobacco, 20 kgs (44 lbs) of hashish and 144 kgs (317 lbs) of cannabis were seized. The suspects have been remanded to custody until trial.
The suspects were reportedly smuggling the cigarettes into Britain.