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Belgium is a hub for the production and transit of counterfeit cigarettes

This year alone 8 facilities for the production of illegal counterfeit cigarettes have been discovered here in Belgium. With a month and a half of the year still left this is already 3 more than during the whole of 2020. The Belgian Customs say that within Europe Belgium has become a hub for the production and transit of illegal cigarettes. 

On Monday the largest production facility for counterfeit cigarettes found in Belgium to date was discovered at Houthalen-Helchteren in Limburg Province. Police and Customs estimate that the site had the capacity to produce as many as 1 million cigarettes per day.

The site had everything that you would find in a factory producing cigarettes legally. It had a complete production line for the drying and cutting of raw tabaco leaves, producing cigarettes and packaging them ready for transportation. When police and customs arrived production was in full swing.

A total of 17 pallets containing an estimated 6 million cigarettes were ready to leave what was the largest illegal cigarette production facility discovered so far.

Suspects and the people that worked at the illegal production facility had disappeared when the site was raided. Customs say that gangs of Eastern European criminals are behind the production of and trade in illegal cigarettes.

 

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