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Illegal Cigarette Production Got Busted in Czechia. They Evaded Over 111 million CZK

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In May, 13 individuals were apprehended by Czech customs officers in the village of Černožice in the Hradec Králové Region for engaging in the illegal production of cigarettes. The detainees were responsible for evading excise taxes amounting to over CZK 111 million, according to Michal Šimůnek from the General Directorate of Customs, who spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.

This operation was part of a collaborative effort among Czech, Polish, and Slovak customs officials targeting illegal tobacco product manufacturers.

Šimůnek explained that Czech customs officers received information about an illicit cigarette factory from their Polish counterparts. During the raid, authorities seized 8.5 million cigarettes, 22 tonnes of tobacco, and a machine capable of producing up to 2,500 cigarettes per minute.

A total of 11 people were detained on the spot during the raid, with an additional two individuals apprehended later. The detainees are Ukrainian, Georgian, and Lithuanian nationals.

Alongside the confiscation of significant amounts of cash, including CZK 2.5 million and tens of thousands of euros, customs officers seized 476 investment coins in cash (estimated value of CZK 333,200), as well as various high-value vehicles such as Lamborghini, Bentley, and Porsche. Additionally, two Mercedes-Benzes, an AUDI, a truck with a semi-trailer (estimated value of CZK 9.5 million), and real estate with an estimated value of CZK 73 million were seized.

“The group had an elaborate system in place for transportation, storage, and the actual production of cigarettes. The property included fully equipped accommodations for the workers. The entire production facility was ‘protected’ by motion detectors, radio signal detectors, mobile network jammers, GPS locators, and a camera system connected to multiple monitors,” revealed Martina Kaňková, a customs spokeswoman.

In Poland, the police detained 17 individuals and dismantled two factories, while in Slovakia, seven people were detained, and two production lines were discovered.

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