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Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon – Criminal Marketing network dismantled nearly 2.5 million cigarettes seized.


Between February 28th and March 6th, the Fiscal Action Unit (UAF) dismantled a criminal network dedicated to the illicit distribution and sale of tobacco and seized more than 2,450,948 cigarettes in the districts of Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon.

As part of an investigation into a criminal network dedicated to the illicit distribution and sale of tobacco, which had been going on for about a year and which had the collaboration of the Guardia Civil of Spain and the operational support of EUROPOL, the Guard carried out steps that made it possible to determine that the highly organized group is responsible for evading taxes, in terms of Special Consumption Tax (IEC) and VAT, which will exceed 3.5 million euros.

The Guard’s military found that cigarettes and other tobacco products, originating from marginal smuggling circuits with branches in Spain, were transported to national territory and temporarily stored in places, being later sold directly to consumers or distributed in commercial establishments and restaurants in the districts of Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon.

The culmination of this investigation, which focused on the crimes of fraudulent introduction into qualified consumption, tax fraud, criminal association and counterfeiting, imitation and illegal use of trademarks, took place over the last week through the execution of 68 search warrants, 37 domicile and 31 non-domestic warrants, namely in vehicles, commercial establishments and catering and beverage establishments and warehouses.

Following the action, four suspects aged between 53 and 65 years, were arrested and the constitution of 12 defendants aged between 52 and 69 years.

The following seizures were made:

  • 2,450,948 cigarettes, corresponding to approximately 122,548 packs of cigarettes; 107,694 kilos of shredded tobacco; 92,300 tubes for filling cigarettes;
  • 45,115 euros in cash;
  • 25 mobile phones; Nine light vehicles; Two firearms; Various ammunition of different calibres; Diverse explosive material (detonating cord, gunpowder, detonators, explosive charges and other material used in pyrotechnic activity) and documentation with probative relevance to the investigation.

The detainees were present for the first judicial interrogation, at the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) in Lisbon, having been applied the coercive measures of obligation of biweekly presentations at the police station in the area of residence and prohibition of contacts with the targeted in the investigation, and one of the suspects was also banned from leaving the country.

During the investigation, which has been going on for about a year, a total of 6,520,522 cigarettes and 399 Kg of tobacco leaf and ground tobacco had already been seized in the national territory, and 3 men, aged between 55 and 64 years old, with 2 of them being applied, in November 2022, the coercive measure of pre-trial detention.

During the operation, 126 soldiers belonging to the Fiscal Action Unit (UAF), the Intervention Unit (UI) and the Territorial Commands of Porto, Braga and Vila Real were engaged, including dog units to detect tobacco and paper money.