site.btaIllegal Cigarette Manufacturing Factory Uncovered in Village near Pazardzhik

Illegal Cigarette Manufacturing Factory Uncovered in Village near Pazardzhik
Illegal Cigarette Manufacturing Factory Uncovered in Village near Pazardzhik
Photo: the Interior Ministry's press centre

A factory and two warehouses for the illegal production and storage of cigarettes have been uncovered in Bulgaria during a special operation of the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime (DGCOC) under the supervision of the prosecution service, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday. 

Investigators established that the production from the illegal cigarette manufacturing facility had been used to supply the market in Bulgaria and several other EU Member States. 

A production hall was uncovered in the village of Gelemenovo near Pazardzhik (Southern Bulgaria). It is a fully autonomous illegal cigarette factory equipped with a modern assembly line for the production and packaging of tobacco products. A tobacco cutting machine and more than 160 pallets filled with cigarette production materials, including filter tips, foil paper and adhesives, were also discovered. Experts involved in the investigation said that the factory produced between 120 and 150 master cases of finished product per shift. People who worked there spent their free time in habitable spaces built inside the production hall itself. They were not allowed to leave the premises, nor did they have any means of communication during their stay there.

The warehouse and the production workshop had very strict security, including security guards, CCTV cameras, and alarm systems. Access to the premises was restricted to a very limited number of people who are currently on the run. Two pre-trial proceedings have been initiated in the regional prosecution office. One man from Plovdiv (South Central Bulgaria) has been detained and charges were brought against him. 

National Customs Agency data shows that over BGN 12 million worth of damage to the EU budget was prevented. Just the tobacco products seized in the warehouse in the village of Kalugerovo are estimated at about BGN 8 million loss to the state budget. Experts believe that these cigarettes can be detrimental to people's health because of failure to comply with quality standards.

/YV/

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By 00:20 on 04.03.2024 Today`s news

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