Illegal tobacco factory busted in Loulé in “unprecedented police operation”

Illegal tobacco factory busted in Loulé in “unprecedented police operation”

An “unprecedented police operation” in Portugal has led to the closure of an illegal tobacco factory in Loulé, the arrest of 13 people and the seizure of over 15 million cigarettes and enough tobacco to produce approximately a further 30 million.

The factory is believed to have supplied the illegal cigarettes in Portugal and other EU countries. The police estimate that the illegal activity represented around “€9.6 million-worth of tax evasion and fraud.”

Entitled ‘Operation DYNAMO’, the investigation started around a year-and-a-half ago and was led by the tax brigade of Faro’s GNR unit.

Finally on Tuesday (June 25), 14 warrants were issued, including five arrest warrants, seven home searches and two searches at the factory and a warehouse were conducted.

GNR police arrested 13 people – 12 men and one woman – aged between 30 and 65, including Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian and Russian citizens.

Two Greek nationals, one of them already a wanted man, were also named ‘arguidos’ (official suspects).

In a press statement, the GNR confirmed that 15.6 million cigarettes (produced at the factory), 17 tons of tobacco leaves (enough to produce around 16.8 million cigarettes), 14 tons of shredded tobacco (enough to produce 13.7 million cigarettes) and a variety of cigarette-making paraphernalia were confiscated.

To carry out this operation, the local police force had the help of GNR police from Beja, Évora, Portalegre and Santarém as well as Europol, the Polish Border Guard and Polish Police.

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