VIDEO: Police raid illegal tobacco factory exporting cigarettes to the UK
Police have discovered an illegal tobacco factory on an industrial estate in Malaga, arresting ten people. Suspicions were aroused after they noticed that although there was no sign outside the warehouse, and it seemed to be unoccupied, the building had been soundproofed and people sometimes came and went from it during the night.
When officers went in to investigate and climbed up to the first floor, they found piles of chopped tobacco all over the ground, and beds where the workers slept.
According to the police report, they were being kept in conditions of semi-slavery, their mobile phones and passports had been taken off them and they were expected to produce cigarettes 24 hours a day.
However, they were being well paid as they received around 5,000 euros a month and were occasionally taken out to a brothel as a reward for productivity, but when outside they had to wear sunglasses with the lenses blanked out so they could not see anything and had no idea where they were.
Nine of those arrested were workers, all from Eastern Europe, and the tenth was the foreman who kept them in line.
Cigarettes transported to the UK:
The gang behind this illegal factory are believed to have brought the tobacco in bulk to Malaga from Bulgaria, hidden in lorries and undeclared. Other warehouses in Spain were also being used for production or distribution, and the cigarettes were mainly transported for sale in the UK.
The police confiscated 16 tonnes of chopped tobacco, 6,421 cartons of cigarettes, 15 boxes of defective cigarettes, 14 boxes of cardboard of different types, 14 pallets of acetate filters, and two pallets of paper, among other items.
Those arrested have been charged with membership of a criminal organisation, public health offences, contravening industrial property rights, and contraband.