By John Smith • 15 October 2020 • 11:32
A COMBINED operation between the Guardia Civil, National Police and Spanish Tax Agency saw raids at three illegal cigarette factories and the seizure of 43 tons of tobacco, almost 1.5 million packs of cigarettes and large amounts of machinery.
The factories which were based in Madrid, Murcia and Alicante were controlled by a Bulgarian gang and the value of the material recovered by this action is said to be €9 million with 14 different brands of cigarette being counterfeited.
A total of 38 different people of various nationalities including several Ukrainians were arrested during this operation and apart from machinery capable of producing 189,000 cigarettes a minute, officers also discovered a number of lorries already loaded with cartons ready to be distributed throughout Spain and much of Europe.
Four of the fake cigarette brands being produced, Fortuna, Winston, L & M and Chesterfield are particularly popular in Spain and the Tax Agency will have lost huge amounts of VAT and duty from their sale.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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