7 individuals have been arrested in a joint operation carried out by the Polish Police in cooperation with the Spanish National Police and with the support of Europol. The organised crime group (OCG) was involved in smuggling large quantities of hashish from Spain to Poland and the illicit manufacturing of tobacco products.
The operation resulted in the seizure and dismantlement of:
- More than 200 kilograms of hashish worth PLZ 3,2 million (equivalent of approximately EUR 757 000);
- 15,5 tonnes of tobacco;
- Two illegal cigarette production lines dismantled in Poland and Spain.
The modus operandi of the organised crime group involved using tomatoes cargos to smuggle hashish from one country to another. Apart from Spain and Poland, the criminal network was also conducting its illicit activities in the United Kingdom.
One of the cigarette production lines was located in the area of Żuromin (Poland), where 4 of the members of the criminal group were arrested. They were identified as nationals of Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Poland. 14 tonnes of tobacco (which could have produced 14 million cigarettes) were seized, as well as equipment used in the manufacturing of tobacco cut filters from raw tobacco imported from Bulgaria.
The investigation uncovered that the illegal factory had produced more than 6 million cigarettes by the end of 2016. The contraband cigarettes were subsequently smuggled to Western European countries.
The other cigarette production line was located in Elche (Spain), where 3,5 tonnes of tobacco were seized, along with the necessary equipment to manufacture cigarettes.
Europol supported the investigation from the very beginning by coordinating the information exchange and cross-checking the information against its databases.