Europol has assisted the Polish authorities in dismantling an organized crime group involved in the production of illegal cigarettes.
An action day in Poland on July 27 saw over 100 officers from the Border Guard (Straż Graniczna) search a number of locations across the province of Warsaw. An illicit factory was dismantled, and 16 suspects charged for their involvement in this illegal tobacco activity. The leader of the criminal organization is among those arrested.
Over 1.6 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized on site by the Polish authorities, alongside 13 tonnes of tobacco which could have been used to produce a further 13 million cigarettes. The tax loss for the Polish Treasury is assessed at about €3.8 million.
The estimated factory’s production capacity was approximately 1 million cigarettes per day. The counterfeit cigarettes were destined predominantly for the U.K. and Germany markets, where they would have had a value of up to €9.7 million.
Europol’s Analysis Project (AP) Smoke provided its secure communication platform and facilitated international cooperation between Poland and other Member States, running cross-checks and providing analytical support and operational expertise. AP Smoke also deployed its experts to Warsaw to assist the Polish authorities with their action day.