The tax office’s criminal investigation branch FIOD has dismantled ‘the largest illegal cigarette factory’ ever found in this country.
The factory was discovered during a routine customs check of a warehouse in Herkenbosch, near Roermond earlier in the week.
The inspectors found several machines to make cigarettes and an estimated 140,000 kilos of tobacco. The amount represents between €20 and €25 million in lost tax revenues.
‘It is the first time a factory of this size has been found,’ a FIOD spokesman told broadcaster NOS. ‘We can tell this from way the factory had been organised but also from the huge amount of tobacco. Trucks were coming and going all the time.’
The text on the packs was in English and it is thought the cigarettes were being made for the British market where cigarettes are much more expensive, the spokesman said.
No arrests have been made. The people operating the factory fled just before the raid, local broadcaster 1Limburg reported.
Both the machines and the tobacco have been impounded and will be destroyed.
FIOD officials put three illegal cigarette factories out of action in 2021 which had been producing millions of cigarettes.
The huge profits generated by the trade in illegal cigarette and tobacco are creating criminal capital and are depriving the government of tax revenue, the FIOD said.
It also leads to unfair competition and is undermining the Dutch policy of discouraging smoking, officials say.
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