The first factory for counterfeit cigarettes ever found in France was raided by local the National Gendarmerie after information provided by Europol
An underground factory where counterfeit tobacco was manufactured has been raided in France, after an operation with more than 60 officers from the French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale).
According to a press release by Europol on Monday, January 16, the raid happened after the information was shared with Europol.
This lead resulted in officials targeting the first factory for counterfeit cigarettes ever found in France
After the raid which is reported to have taken place last week, the French officers arrested nine suspects, most of them Moldovan nationals.
A statement in the press release said, “The gendarmes discovered a quasi-industrial set-up for the production of counterfeit cigarettes in large quantities”.
“They discovered three separate zones in the targeted factory. One of the zones was dedicated to the processing of raw tobacco to produce boxes of cigarettes labelled as well-known brands sold on the legal market”
It also said that another zone was dedicated to the storage of large boxes of counterfeit cigarettes.
The third zone was reported to be used as a living area for the workers with some 15 beds, a kitchen and a living room.
“This allowed the workers to live at the factory, completely cut off from the external world”, the statement said.
During the raids, the officers seized more than 100 tonnes of illegal products including 55 tonnes of cigarettes in boxes (19.4 million cigarettes and 15 tonnes of cut tobacco).
They also found 50 tonnes of packaging materials such as paper, filters and labels, as well as 18 tonnes of waste from the cigarette production process.
Authorities estimated the value of the seized tobacco products at about €17 million.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check out the EuroNews247 website for all your up-to-date European news stories.