Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Cigarette smuggling ring smashed

Customs officers have cracked a multimillion-euro cigarette smuggling operation at a business premises

Customs officers have cracked a multimillion-euro cigarette smuggling operation at a business premises.

About 28 million illegally-imported cigarettes - worth 11.8 million euro - were seized during a raid in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Packets of the Regal King Size brand were hidden in the cavity of packs of timber which had been shipped into the country and tracked to the site.

Officers are examining the 159 packs of timber to determine exactly how many packets of cigarettes are concealed.

"They have established that each timber pack examined contains 179,000 cigarettes, but still have to determine if cigarettes are concealed in all of the packs," said a spokeswoman.

The potential loss to the exchequer is 9.4 million euro.

The seizure follows Europe's largest seizure of smuggled cigarettes, when 120 million were discovered in nearby Greenore dock last October.

Investigations are ongoing to see if they are linked.

Anti smoking lobby group Ash Ireland said the seizure highlights the serious tobacco smuggling epidemic which is gripping the country.

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