Dismantled an organization dedicated to the clandestine manufacture of tobacco packs of renowned brands

Seven people have been arrested as alleged perpetrators of contraband, against industrial property and against the Public Treasury

In the town of Malaga in Sedella they had facilities that were used to manufacture cigarettes, while in the municipality of Aguilar de la Frontera in Cordoba they had an industrial warehouse where they stored the product

Inside a truck, a total of 54,500 packs of tobacco of a well-known brand were located, while in one of its “pilot cars” a high-power frequency inhibitor device was found, which evidenced the use of sophisticated technical means to hinder police investigation

Agents of the Civil Guard, National Police and Tax Agency, in the framework of a joint operation, have broken up a criminal group specialized in the clandestine manufacture of cigarettes and their subsequent distribution by Spain and other countries of the European Union. Seven people from Ukraine, Latvia and Russia have been arrested as alleged perpetrators of smuggling crimes, against industrial property and against the Public Treasury.

Investigations began in March 2019, when the researchers received information that warned of the arrival in Spain of an individual of Russian nationality who aimed to work in a clandestine tobacco factory in the province of Malaga. After corroborating this information, a joint investigation was initiated aimed at following the movements of this person by the different populations through which he moved, in which he made contacts with other people of the same nationality. In addition, it adopted high security measures to hinder the possible police surveillance that could be carried out on them.

The information obtained in this process, and the information provided after the follow-up of another individual of Russian nationality who arrived in Spain in October, led the investigation to focus on the province of Malaga, taking researchers to a house located in a zone of difficult access of the mountain range of the Axarquía, pertaining to the Malaga municipality of Sedella.

They used rental vehicles to hinder a possible police investigation

The surveillance on this property allowed to detect six individuals entering and leaving both the house and the adjoining ship, as well as others who accessed the farm in cars and vans. These vehicles were, on some occasions, rented to hinder a possible police investigation into them. With the follow-up of these people, a second industrial building was located in the town of Aguilar de la Frontera, in the province of Córdoba.

Once the illegal activity was corroborated, a device coordinated by the three police forces was planned to proceed with the arrest of the members of the criminal group. Agents detected the entry of two vehicles and a truck at the Sedella estate, where they remained for an hour. After leaving it, they were followed and intercepted by researchers who verified how they transferred a total of 54,500 packets of tobacco from a well-known brand.

Following this finding, two more inspections were carried out in the aforementioned industrial buildings, as well as an entry and registration in a dwelling. All this allowed the arrest of the seven people who formed the group. In addition to the brand name intervened, there was evidence in the housing register that they also had material to make cigarettes from a second brand, also well known.

In one of the vehicles that served as the “pilot car” of the truck, a high-frequency frequency inhibitor device was found, which evidenced, once again, the use of sophisticated technical means to hinder police investigation.

Soundproofing systems to avoid being discovered

The ship of the municipal term of Aguilar de la Frontera was destined for warehouse and in it samples of cardboard of the same brand of tobacco intervened in the truck were found. The ship of the municipal term of Sedella was destined to the factory and in its interior sufficient material was found for the total process of manufacture of cigarettes from sting in bulk. In addition, soundproofing systems were observed that prevented noise from machines, extractors and current generators from being detected outside.

The investigation has decided that the final product was distributed in vans mainly by Andalusia. Some vehicles were only intended to transport the ship used as a factory to which it was used as a warehouse.

As a result of the police operation, three persons of Ukrainian nationality, three others from Latvia and one from Russia, have been arrested, entering six of them in prison.

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