Spanish police seize record 41 tons of contraband tobacco

November 28, 2015, 7:29am

AP on News24. Photo: Duncan Alfreds, News24

Seville - Spanish police have seized more than 41 tons of contraband tobacco, the equivalent of 4 million packets of cigarettes, investigators said on Friday, pointing out the haul was a record amount.

Eleven suspected gang members were arrested in the southern city of Jaen and in the capital Madrid.

The tobacco has an estimated street value of €6.6m, investigators said.

The gang bought the tobacco, which was in fact of too low a quality for smoking and was intended for composting and pesticide, from three companies. They intended to sell it on as cigarette-quality tobacco.

The sale would have deprived the tax authorities of €5.5m in income, investigators said.

The crime came to light when legal tobacconists in the Jaen area complained that their sales had dropped by 30%.