An illegal cigarette factory was shut down on Tuesday in Eupen, reported Grenz-Echo on Thursday. Andrea Tilgenkamp, the Eupen prosecutor, told the Belga news agency that 21 people had been placed under arrest. “Based on information obtained by our German colleagues who were investigating the case, we learned that an illegal cigarette factory was most likely based in Eupen and Stembert (in the town of Verviers, ed),” said Andrea Tilgenkamp.
On Tuesday, the police force descended on a hangar located in Oestrasse ,Eupen. On site, the officers seized machinery, tobacco and equipment used to manufacture illegal cigarettes. Eighteen people were arrested.
“Police officers also descended on a hangar located in Stembert. Here again, three people were arrested,” said the prosecutor. Damages are estimated to be over one million euros.
The 21 individuals are being prosecuted for violating customs laws, evading excise taxes, creating a criminal conspiracy and forgery. On Friday, they will appear before the council chamber, which will decide whether or not to confirm the arrest warrant.