site.btaState Agency for National Security Initiates Operation Busting Organized Crime Groups Involved in Illicit Tobacco Production

State Agency for National Security Initiates Operation Busting Organized Crime Groups Involved in Illicit Tobacco Production
State Agency for National Security Initiates Operation Busting Organized Crime Groups Involved in Illicit Tobacco Production
State Agency for National Security building (BTA Photo)

The State Agency for National Security (SANS) has initiated an international operation to disrupt the activities of organized crime groups involved in the establishment of illegal cigarette factories on the territory of a foreign country, smuggling channels and the sale of illegal products in EU countries, the SANS said in a press release on Thursday. 

In coordination with the Spanish partner services in 2023 and 2024, a set of activities were carried out to document and disrupt the criminal activities of groups engaged in illicit tobacco production and sale activities.

It has been established that the proceeds of criminal activity are being introduced into the financial turnover through "laundering" mechanisms.

In the final phase of the operation, in March and April 2024, two illegal factories with equipment for the production, packaging and distribution of cigarette products of well-known brands were discovered in the Spanish cities of Madrid and Lucena.

A total of 20 people have been arrested as alleged members of a criminal organization, 15 of whom are Bulgarian citizens. More than six million pieces of counterfeit cigarettes were seized, as well as 33 tonnes of raw tobacco with a total value of more than EUR 7.5 million. The investigation remains open and further action is not ruled out.

/RY/

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By 13:51 on 17.06.2024 Today`s news

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