On January 26th, 2016, the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), through the Fiscal Action Unit and the Tax and Customs Authority, under coordination of the Central Department of Investigation and Prosecution, have complied with 41 search warrants (26 in-house and 15 others), in several economic operators in the regions of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Fundão, Castelo Branco, Leiria, Lisbon andPonte de Sor, on suspicion of the crimes of fraudulent introduction in tobacco consumption.
As a result of the searches, the following items were seized:
- More than 182 tons of tobacco leaf and ground tobacco; sufficient quantity to produce more than 364 million cigarettes;
- 4,800 packs of cigarettes without excise stamps affixed, several hundreds of thousands of tubes (filters and smoking paper ready to be filled with tobacco);
- 611,526 euros in cash;
- Three illegal firearms, precision scales and several industrial milling accessories, in addition to other documents and computer storage devices supporting the development of the aforementioned activities.
In the course of the operation, 12 Portuguese and foreigners were formally accused, as well as six companies they represented.
The parallel and illicit criminal activity was carried out by national and Spanish operators that were involved in tobacco production and processing.
This structure, which was dispersed throughout the country, ensures the release for consumption through Internet sales and direct deliveries to customers’ homes in order to avoid the payment of value-added tax (VAT) and excise duty.
114 investigators from the GNR Fiscal Action Unit and 24 inspectors from the Tax and Customs Authority were engaged in this operation.
Some of the material seized are available for image collection at the GNR Quarters in Trafaria (Estrada Militar –Trafaria); Lieutenant Colonel Paulo Messias, Communication and Public Relations Officer of the GNR Fiscal Action Unit will be there to provide further clarifications (mobile phone: 961196026).