Spanish police announced on Sunday January 22 that they had dismantled a network managing three tobacco factories in which Ukrainians who fled to Spain after the Russian invasion worked, "
" into makeshift accommodation.
The network is accused of smuggling "
" of tobacco that it transformed into counterfeit cigarettes sold throughout Spain as well as in neighboring countries, explains the Spanish Civil Guard in a press release.
Twenty-seven people have been arrested in Spain as part of the investigation carried out with the help of the European police agency Europol.
At the same time, ten tonnes of tobacco leaves and 3.5 million packets of cigarettes with a total value of 37.5 million euros were seized.
'Crowded in', 'working long hours'
The three factories, located in the wine region of La Rioja (North), Seville (South) and Valencia (East), were equipped with "
" machinery and could produce 540,000 packs of cigarettes per day, according to the communicated.
The network employed Ukrainians who came to Spain irregularly or arrived as asylum seekers after the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.
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These Ukrainians lived in the factories, “
crammed into prefabs and unable to exit the facilities so they could not be spotted, working long hours
,” the statement continued.
The leaders of the network carried out "
laundering large amounts of money
" and led "
a life of luxury
" in the upscale tourist resort of Marbella on the Costa del Sol (South), he adds.
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