Spanish Police Ops Expose Bulgaria as Smuggling ChanelCrime | May 31, 2013, Friday // 16:23| views
GERB Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, used to boast huge success in the fight against organized crime in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES
Police in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and France, have staged a large-scale special operation in busting an international cigarette contraband network.
The authorities have seized 2.7 million boxes of smuggled cigarettes and have arrested 13 people.
The contraband shipments came from undisclosed locations in Asia and passed through Bulgaria, the Spanish Interior Ministry, cited by the Bulgarian news agency BGNES, reported.
The gang's headquarters were located in the Spanish resort of Marbella while the criminal network spread to Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Ten containers with contraband cigarettes have been delivered in various European countries each month with profits reaching EUR 1.1 M per container.
The shipments passed through ports in Spain, Belgium, and Portugal. Once loaded on road transportation, they were sent to Bulgaria for redistribution.
According to Spanish police, the operation, which has concluded Thursday, has been one of the largest in recent years.
The detainees include 10 Spaniards, one Brit, one Irish, and one Belgian.
BGNES reminds the smuggling channel has been active in Bulgaria during the term of the formerly-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who used to boast huge success in the fight against organized crime.
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