10/07/2009

Gardaí Seize Two Million Contraband Cigarettes

A successful operation to net a huge haul of illicit tobacco products in Dublin has just been revealed.

The joint operation was between the Garda Siocahana and the Irish Customs Service at Dublin Port.

It has resulted in the detection and seizure of what are believed to be two million contraband cigarettes.

They were recovered when Gardaí from the Organised Crime Unit stopped a lorry at Neilstown in Dublin on Wednesday - 8th July - as part of a planned operation that has only now been revealed.

As part of the investigation into the haul, the police also seized two vehicles - a lorry and a van.

The investigation is on-going, but it's believed the estimated retail value of the cigarettes is approximately €855,000.

The seizure is thought to be part of an international operation to target the manufacture and smuggling of cigarettes from the Far East into the UK and the Republic.

Earlier this week, arrests were made by the PSNI in Northern Ireland following the search of premises by Revenue and Customs officers in Co Londonderry.

At the same time, the Criminal Assets Bureau in counties Cork, Meath and Louth undertook a similar swoop.

Premises in Cambridgeshire in England were also searched during the operation.

It was reported at the time that the Irish Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau searches netted important documentation.

According to a spokesman for Gardaí, the data was seized during the course of the operation, which was part of an international investigation into the smuggling of cigarettes.

Yesterday, almost 30,000 counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes were seized in early morning raids in Belfast when officers from HM Revenue & Customs, supported by police, targeted eight retail premises in the north of the city.

The seizure came the day after a major smuggling operation was cracked and £5m worth of illicit cigarettes uncovered in Belfast docks.

Over eight million Regal King Size cigarettes were found by UK Border Agency officers hidden behind boxes in a cargo just arrived in the port.

See: Other NI News In Brief: Further Cigs Haul Recovered

(BMcC/JM)

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