The Civil Guard dismantles the first underground underground tobacco factory in Europe

This facility was hidden under a block of horses and had a complete production line that allowed the manufacture of more than 3500 cigarettes per hour

20 people have been arrested, including one of the leaders of the organization, D.D. of English nationality, who was fleeing from the British authorities for crimes related to drug trafficking and forgery of identity document

When the agents accessed the clandestine factory, they located 6 workers inside with serious breathing difficulties, due to the cut of the power supply that provided electricity to the facilities

The Civil Guard, within the framework of EUROPOL, has carried out the HANNIBAL operation, developed entirely in the province of Malaga and through which it has been possible to dismantle a criminal organization composed of citizens of British, Lithuanian and Ukrainian origin, dedicated to the manufacture and illegal marketing of tobacco, as well as drug trafficking.

In the operation, carried out by the Economic Crime Group of the Central Operating Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, the collaboration of the British security forces and forces, with the file AP SMOKE of EUROPOL, has been provided, as well As with other foreign police bodies.

Twenty people have been arrested and 13 home searches and several industrial warehouses have been carried out, which have allowed the intervention of 153,000 packets of tobacco ready for sale, 17,600 kilograms of tobacco bites, 20 kilograms of hashish and 144 kg of marijuana, as well as the dismantling of an indoor plantation of this same drug.

The criminal organization was mainly made up of British citizens, being one of the 30-year-old D.D. leaders, who was fleeing from the English authorities by not returning to prison after a prison permit. Another of the detainees, A.R. of Lithuanian nationality, he also appeared as fleeing from justice by the authorities of his country for crimes related to smuggling.

More than 3,500 cigarettes per hour

Despite the enormous security measures adopted by the members of this criminal group to prevent any police action, they have not prevented the location of the most novel investigators of this operation, which has undoubtedly been the discovery and dismantling of a clandestine underground tobacco factory, the first underground underground tobacco factory located in Europe, with the capacity to produce 3,500 cigarettes per hour.

To prevent the identification of said factory, hidden in a stable of horses, the criminal organization used heavy machinery that, pushing a large tonnage sea container, exposed access to these clandestine facilities. It was not until the night of the day of the police action, when after pushing said container a few meters, it was discovered under it the entrance to an underground factory, located 4 meters below the ground, which until then was hidden and to which it was accessed through a forklift and stairs.

6 workers abandoned inside

Once inside the passenger compartment reviewed, 6 workers of Ukrainian nationality who lived in unsanitary conditions were found and whose contact with the outside was null, being totally locked up and abandoned to their fate, due to the police detention of the rest of the members of the criminal organization first thing in the morning, which did not communicate to the agents any of these circumstances around these workers.

The sustainability of these underground facilities depended on a large electric generator, through which an air circuit was generated inside them. The generator, fueled by diesel oil that had to be replaced daily, was turned off during the day of the police actions, which caused the air to stop working in the facilities, making the conditions inside the factory dangerous for the life of The workers present there. These, when noticing the lack of air, went to the exit of the "bunker", which was blocked from the outside, at which time they began to scream and hit the container that blocked the exit, without the agents present there in The surface could hear these distress signals, since the installation had been built in a soundproofed way to prevent the noise of the operating machines from going outside.

Thanks to the determination of the agents, the access to the clandestine factory was finally located and once inside, they saw with surprise the 6 workers with difficulties to breathe in a totally unhealthy environment, immediately proceeding to the release and rescue of all of them.

In relation to this fact, it should be noted that, although the members of the arrested criminal organization knew about the difficulty of finding the underground factory and that 6 workers were inside, they did not show it at any time to the agents in charge of the investigation, a circumstance that is aggravated taking into account that the disconnection of the generator or its shutdown due to lack of fuel, could lead to their death.

If the acting force had not located the clandestine factory in time, the lack of oxygen would have made the conditions of the underground facilities incompatible with the lives of the workers who were there in a short time.

The operation phase of this operation has been carried out by the Economic Crime Group of the Central Operating Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, the unit responsible for the investigations, with the support of several Units of the Comandancia de Málaga such as the Organic Unit of Judicial Police, the Seprona and Citizen Security, as well as the Rapid Action Group, the Reserve and Security Group, the Cynological Service and the Cavalry Squadron of the Civil Guard, all coordinated by the Court of Instruction number 1 of those in Coín, which has decreed prison for 12 of those arrested.


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