Spanish police make Europe's 'biggest' tobacco seizure

2017-11-16 22:24


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Madrid - Spanish police said on Thursday they had seized 250 tons of contraband tobacco leaves worth €40m in the biggest such haul in Europe.

They arrested four members of a family during the operation in western Spain, said a spokesperson for the Guardia Civil.

"It is the biggest seizure of tobacco leaves in Europe," the Guardia Civil said in a statement.

Police suspect the group sold the tobacco over the internet, shipping it to customers through parcel delivery firms, without paying taxes and bypassing mandatory health checks.

They launched an investigation in early 2017 after officers seized two tons of contraband tobacco leaves and arrested two men who were transporting it by truck.

The authorities suspect the group made more than 6 000 deliveries and police do not rule out more arrests.

Portuguese police seized 182 tons of contraband tobacco in January 2016 in what they said was the biggest seizure in Europe.

The sale of contraband tobacco costs European Union member states €10bn in lost tax revenues every year, according the European Anti-Fraud Office.

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