Greek police smash contraband smokes ring

Greek police smash contraband smokes ring

The Hellenic Police said on Tuesday that Greek authorities had smashed a criminal racket believed to have smuggled hundreds of thousands of packets of contraband cigarettes into Greece from various Arab nations before illegally exporting them to neighboring Balkan states.

Officers arrested 27 suspected members of the racket, aged between 24 and 60, including the suspected ring leaders, while another 34 accomplices are being sought, according to a police statement.

Efforts are under way to identify another 241 people believed to have collaborated with the gang, police sources said.

A police raid led to the confiscation of 610,360 packets of cigarettes, 1,290 packets of loose tobacco and more than 200,000 euros’ worth of cash in euros and dollars and 12 vehicles.

The ring’s activities are estimated to have cost the state at least 22 million euros in customs charges.

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