• May 26, 2024

Illicit Tobacco Factory Dismantled in Germany

 Illicit Tobacco Factory Dismantled in Germany
Photo: Europol

Authorities have arrested 12 individuals who ran a large illegal tobacco factory in Kranenburg, Germany. The illegal factory could produce 10 million cigarettes per week.

Around 200 officers were involved in the raid. The 12 workers arrested on site were all Polish and Ukrainian nationals, aged between 28 and 59 years old. 11 million cigarettes were also seized as they were being loaded onto a lorry.

This is the fourth such illicit production facility uncovered on the German territory and undoubtedly one of the largest. The estimated tax loss to the German state revenue for the illegal production alone stands at approximately €1.5 million ($1.77 million) per week, according to Europol, which estimated that the factory had been operating since the end of 2016.

Most of the cigarettes are believed to have been destined for the black market in the United Kingdom where the retail value of cigarettes is much higher than in Germany.

The operation was launched by the German authorities based on information provided via Europol by the Polish Police Center Bureau of Investigation. Europol further supported this operation by facilitating the information exchange between the involved authorities and by analyzing the operational data to identify the main targets.

The investigation is still ongoing to try to identify potential links to other European countries.