Limburg: Three arrested in illegal cigarette factory bust

Limburg: Three arrested in illegal cigarette factory bust
Credit: Belga / Kurt Desplenter

Local police uncovered an illegal factory operating in an industrial building in the municipality of Pelt in the Flemish province of Limburg on Tuesday afternoon. Four suspects, all from Eastern Europe, managed to evade police but three others were apprehended.

In total, local police discovered ten tonnes of tobacco in the industrial warehouse.

The local police and prosecutor’s office have contacted the General Administration of Customs and Excise, whose officers came to the scene of the raid. An investigation has officially been launched.

Belgium is a hotspot for illegal cigarette trafficking. Last year, 75 production sites were dismantled in 2022, four of which were in Belgium. In Belgium, 5% of cigarettes smoked go untaxed. Belgium is a logistical hub for the trafficking of untaxed cigarettes to other EU countries and the UK.

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In March 2022, Belgian customs officials dismantled an illegal cigarette factory, with the support of Europol, seizing 40 million cigarettes, which would have avoided €20 million in excise duties and VAT.

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