Three illegal tobacco factories that exploited Ukrainian refugees dismantled

The Civil Guard has dismantled three illegal tobacco factories in Logroño, Valencia and Seville in which they have seized 3.5 million packs without tax seal valued at more than 17 million euros, in an operation in which 17 people who used Ukrainian refugees to make tobacco have been arrested.

In collaboration with Europol, in the operation Fataca On which the General Directorate of the Civil Guard reports this Sunday, about twenty warehouses and businesses have been registered in the towns of Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, Madrid, Albacete, Valencia, Zaragoza and La Rioja.

The operation began at the end of 2021, when the Operation Turkeyswhere a clandestine tobacco factory was dismantled inside a chicken shed in the town of Los Corrales (Seville).

As a result of this intervention, the agents detected another criminal organization that moved large quantities of contraband tobacco, with a very high level of activity throughout the national territory and in other neighboring countries.

With the investigations underway, the investigators determined that, on the one hand, they were importing packs into Spain in containers through national and even international seaports without declaring the merchandise, which allowed them to avoid paying the corresponding taxes.

540,000 packs of tobacco per day

However, the main way to distribute contraband tobacco in Spain and the rest of Europe was by manufacturing it themselves, which is why they had at least 3 factories installed in Logroño, Valencia and Seville.

Specifically, the ships were located in the towns of Alfaro (La Rioja), Los Corrales (Seville) and Enquera (Valencia). These factories had machinery with advanced technology.

According to the Civil Guard, the value of these factories would be around 3,000,000 euros and their production capacity could be around 540,000 packs a day.

During the searches, they intervened, in addition to the 3.5 million cigarette packs ready for distribution10,000 kilos of tobacco leaf, with a value greater than 20,000,000 euros.

CROWDED UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

To carry out the different production tasks in the factories, they used people of Ukrainian nationality, who had moved to Spain in irregular situation or under international protection before the declared war in his country.

These citizens lived in said facilities, crammed into prefabricated modules, and without leaving the facilities so as not to be detected, working long hours.

MARIJUANA LARGE PLANTATIONS

In the last stage of the operation, the investigators detected how this organization was diversifying its criminal activity, expanding its facilities in large marijuana plantations.

On the other hand, research by money laundering It has allowed the seizure of 7 properties and 25 vehicles, as well as the blocking of the bank accounts held by those investigated who led a luxurious life on farms in the Seville province and in urbanizations in Marbella (Málaga).