• May 23, 2024

Smuggling Ring in Spain and Portugal Disrupted

 Smuggling Ring in Spain and Portugal Disrupted
Photo: Europol

Spanish and Portuguese law enforcement agencies have dismantled a criminal network involved in cross-border tobacco smuggling, according to Europol.

On Feb. 16, more than 100 officers simultaneously raided addresses on either side of the border, detaining eight suspects.

The officers seized 2 tons of cut tobacco and tobacco strips, more than 10,000 counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco cutting and drying equipment. They also recovered €37,800 ($42,778.46) in cash.

Property searches were carried out in the province of Sevilla (Spain) and in the cities of Coimbra, Lisbon, Leiria and Aveiro (Portugal).

The criminals are suspected of having illegally imported from Spain to Portugal large quantities of leaf tobacco and strips, destined to produce counterfeit cigarettes. This criminal network had tobacco storage and production facilities scattered across both countries.

Law enforcement believes these criminals have smuggled over 7 tons of tobacco products from Spain to Portugal in 2021 alone.

The revenue loss generated by this illegal activity is estimated at over €163,000 in Portugal.