EU contraband cigarette ring targeting UK busted

13 people in Denmark have been arrested in connection with the production and smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes into the UK.

On March 2, an illegal factory manufacturing cigarettes was raided and taken offline in the Danish municipality of Vamdrup, which Europol says is the first case of a factory being dismantled in Denmark. 13 individuals of Polish and Ukrainian nationality were arrested and 11m cigarettes seized, alongside 11 tonnes of raw tobacco, worth €14m.

“Forensic analysis is still ongoing in order to quantify the factory’s exact production capacity, which is presumably of several million cigarettes per week,” according to the police agency.

Later in the same week, enforcement authorities in the Netherlands searched the premises of a warehouse in Ospel, uncovering eight pallets of contraband cigarettes stored in maritime containers were seized, worth close to €1m in the UK, the destination market.

The cigarettes produced in Denmark were sent to the Netherlands via lorries and remained there for a while, stored in maritime containers, before being shipped to the UK.

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