Belgium Swoops On Counterfeit Cigarette Gang
Aartselaar, Belgium, Aug 4 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 4th Aug, 2021 ) :Belgian customs officers on Wednesday mounted their biggest-ever operation against counterfeit cigarette production, swooping on 10 illegal sites and making at least 40 arrests.
In a non-descript industrial park in Aartselaar, on a main road into the port city of Antwerp, officers arrested 18 men in a pre-dawn raid in an unmarked warehouse.
Some were sleeping in their bunks when the armed officers burst in while others were running the machines.
They were led off in handcuffs as senior officers arrived with reporters.
"While this depot was working 24 hours a day, the workers never left the plant, so as not to alert the neighbourhood," said Florence Angelici, spokeswoman for the Belgian finance ministry in charge of the customs service.
Behind her, a partitioned section of the warehouse featured messy bunks, overflowing suitcases and signs of a hastily abandoned breakfast.
"They slept here, worked here, ate here, took their showers -- they didn't leave for weeks, even months," she said.
In total four production sites were found, alongside six more sites used for logistics, to shred raw tobacco or to store supplies like cigarette paper, filters and glue.