A huge consignment of cigarettes seized by customs staff in south Armagh in an operation which left two police officers injured was smuggled from China, it has been revealed.
The 8.4 million cigarettes were first shipped inside a 40-foot container to Felixstowe in England inside a container which was transported to Dublin, then Dundalk, Co Louth, and eventually across the border to a warehouse near the village of Meigh.
Customs staff believe the counterfeit Benson and Hedges cigarettes were going to be sold at knock-down prices on the black market.
Details emerged today as a 38-year-old man and a juvenile faced charges in Newry in connection with Tuesday's find.
The pair were accused of excise evasion, withholding information relating to an arrestable offence, concealing criminal property, entering into an arrangement to appropriate criminal property, and possessing criminal property.
One of the two policeman, who was badly injured at the time of the arrest operation when he was struck by a van, remains in a "serious, but stable" condition in hospital.
The second officer was released after treatment.