The GNR’s tax unit has been instrumental in bagging those running an illegal tobacco factory in Loulé.
The Tax Action Unit unleashed an operation on Wednesday, June 25, which resulted in the arrest of 13 individuals between 30 and 65, including Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Russian and Portuguese.
Some 46 million cigarettes were confiscated in an operation carried out over the past 6 months which aimed at investigating an international criminal organisation engaged in the fraudulent production and sale of tobacco and the running of an illegal large-scale cigarette manufacturing factory.
A total of 14 search warrants were issued, including five arrest orders, seven home searches, a search fof the factory in question and a search for the warehouse used to store tobacco.
The GNR stated that 17 tonnes of tobacco leaft were found at the factory, enough for 15.6 million cigarettes. Also, 14 tonness of crushed tobacco was seized, enough to make 13. 75 million cigarettes.
It is estimated that fraud and tax evasion, generated by the production and sale of the cigarettes would net €9.6 million.
This operation was in collaboration with Europol and is a first for Portugal, unprecedented in fact.
Two defendants, Greeks aged 37 and 60, were suspected of being part of this criminal group. One of the detainees already was a wanted man.
It is unlikely that any of the defendants will be given bail.