Clandestine cigarette factory dismantled in Zaragoza

Photo of a national Police officer. image: policia nacional

National Police officers in Zaragoza dismantle a clandestine cigarette factory

National Police officers in Zaragoza have dismantled a clandestine cigarette factory with the capacity to produce 57,600 packs a day, in an operation that has resulted in 20 arrests.

The organization had four industrial buildings, one of them, located in Zaragoza, operated as a production centre. Three other facilities, used as security warehouses, were located in Zaragoza, Guadalajara, and Madrid.

All the necessary machinery had been installed, to carry out the two complete phases of a tobacco factory, from the moment the leaf is received, until the masters or boxeswere  arranged on pallets for their sale and distribution. Numerous materials capable of producing 2,000,000 cigarette packs have been seized.

Investigations were initiated thanks to an exchange of information between the National Police and the Bulgarian police authorities. The Spanish police learned of the existence in Spain of a criminal organisation, led by Bulgarian citizens, allegedly dedicated to the smuggling of prohibited goods.

Locating their three warehouses in busy industrial estates meant that the illicit activities could go virtually unnoticed daily.

Inside the Guadalajara warehouse, the police disvovered the vehicles responsible for carrying out the distribution. There was a large trailer, as well as six semi-rigid boats with the remains of wrapped hashish.

At the beginning of 2022, once the organisation had finished the work of installing the machinery and refurbishing the industrial buildings, the investigating officers carrying out surveillance observed that those under investigation had traveled to Barcelona.

There they picked up eight people – seven Ukrainian citizens and one Bulgarian – who formed part of the workforce necessary for the production of cigarettes. These individuals were transferred directly to the interior of the production facility in Zaragoza, where they remained until beinf detained in the operation.

Last February, a large lorry was detected unloading the raw material necessary for the production of cigarettes at the production centre. Just 11 days later, the lorry returned to the warehouse, this time to transfer the already manufactured material to the security warehouse located in another industrial estate in the Aragonese capital.

This lorry was then followed to Madrid, specifically to an industrial estate located in Humanes, where it reloaded the raw material being stored there, which would be transferred again to the production warehouse in Zaragoza.

Finally, in mid-February, the leaders of the organisation moved to the Zaragoza security warehouse, where they loaded all the merchandise that was inside it into a new lorry that they would use for the final distribution. This was when the police pounced, seizing the lorry containing more than 120,000 cigarette cartons.

In total,  officers seized 264,000 packs of tobacco, valued at €1,320,000; 1,680 kilos of chopped tobacco, two lorries, six semi-rigid boats without motors, and machinery valued at €1,500,000, among other effects.

It is estimated by the authorities that the organisation had material to produce a total of 2,000,000 cigarette packets. In addition, the economic damage to the Public Treasury , as a result of tax evasion, is valued at more than €1million, as reported by 20minutos.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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