‘Fag’ fac­to­ries stubbed out

Gang could pro­duce 18,000 cig­a­rettes per minute, say po­lice

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Front Page - Awatkins@cb­news.es

By Alex Watkins

IL­LE­GAL fac­to­ries in Ali­cante, Mur­cia and Madrid prov­inces have been shut down in a joint op­er­a­tion by Na­tional Po­lice, Guardia Civil and Span­ish cus­toms.

The three fa­cil­i­ties had a com­bined pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 18,000 cig­a­rettes per minute and sup­plied the black mar­ket in Spain and abroad, ex­plained a spokesman for the au­thor­i­ties.

They ap­par­ently sold fakes of 14 well-known brands in­clud­ing For­tuna, Win­ston, L&M and Ch­ester­field in Spain, and oth­ers des­tined for other EU coun­tries.

A to­tal of 38 peo­ple were ar­rested in­clud­ing three Bul­gar­ian na­tion­als who are al­leged to be the gang’s ring­leaders in Spain and have been re­manded in cus­tody.

Of­fi­cers seized a to­tal of 43,160 ki­los of loose to­bacco and 1,443,000 pack­ets of cig­a­rettes, which had an es­ti­mated street value of over €9 mil­lion.

Raids on the fac­to­ries and stor­age fa­cil­i­ties were car­ried out si­mul­ta­ne­ously at the end of Septem­ber, when the or­gan­i­sa­tion was about to start pro­duc­tion at their third fac­tory, lo­cated in Al­bat­era in the south of Ali­cante prov­ince.

Two pro­duc­tion lines had been set up there, which were ready to start work and staff were al­ready on site.

The 11 sus­pects ar­rested there were five Bul­gar­ian cit­i­zens, five Ukraini­ans and one Rus­sian.

The other two fac­to­ries were al­ready in full pro­duc­tion, one of them in Blanca (Mur­cia) – where eight Bul­gar­i­ans and six Ukraini­ans were ar­rested – and the other in Vil­lanueva de Perales (Madrid), where an­other 12 peo­ple of the same na­tion­al­i­ties were de­tained.

Of­fi­cers also seized six ve­hi­cles and ma­chin­ery used in the pro­duc­tion and pack­ag­ing process.

The raids came af­ter months of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ini­ti­ated by the Elche pub­lic pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice, which es­tab­lished the gang’s ‘cau­tious­ness and ca­pac­ity to adapt their lo­gis­tics to al­most any even­tu­al­ity’.

The ware­houses they used for stor­age were in Illescas (Toledo) and Al­calá de Henares (Madrid).

But the gang also stored large quan­ti­ties of cig­a­rettes and ma­te­ri­als in­side lorry trail­ers which they kept in pub­lic car parks.

The spokesman said the op­er­a­tion had pre­vented sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial losses for the Span­ish trea­sury, as well as un­fair com­pe­ti­tion for le­gal cig­a­rette busi­nesses and a health risk to con­sumers, since the il­le­gally pro­duced cig­a­rettes had not been submitted to any checks.

Benidorm Re­sort is a plat­form set up by ABRECA – a Benidorm bar and restau­rant as­so­ci­a­tion, Rosem­ber Real Es­tates and Apart­men­tos Nicaragua as a new way of pro­mot­ing the re­sort in a safe and pos­i­tive light.

The group’s phi­los­o­phy is to in­form ev­ery­one that Benidorm is open; it is safe; and ‘united we are stronger’. This week they wel­comed their first clients, who are able to stay in safe and cer­ti­fied tourist apart­ments and have break­fast, lunch and din­ner in 50 of the town’s bars and restau­rants who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gramme. The four-day bank hol­i­day week­end high­lighted the success of this col­lab­o­ra­tion and Novem­ber al­ready has reser­va­tions at 50%.

There has been much in­ter­est and pub­lic­ity which has re­sulted in reser­va­tions by the French, Bel­gian, Dutch, Bri­tish and Ital­ian mar­kets, they noted.

Jávea wa­ter com­pany AMJASA has ap­proved an in­vest­ment of al­most €400,000 in im­prove­ments to the mains net­work.

The pub­lic com­pany di­rec­tors agreed three sep­a­rate projects in La Giar­dia and Els Castel­lons ar­eas and will put the work out to ten­der. Once awarded, the con­tracts will have a three-month ex­e­cu­tion pe­riod.

Cig­a­rettes were be­ing pro­duced on an in­dus­trial scale

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Spain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.