Contraband cigarette ring broken in Attica

Police said yesterday they had arrested nine men in connection with a major international racket smuggling contraband cigarettes between Bulgaria, Cyprus and Britain. In a warehouse in Aspropyrgos, western Athens, they seized 270,300 packets of cigarettes representing 492,922 euros in lost customs duty and taxation. Two of the men, Constantinos Saoulidis, 45, and Dimitrios Saoulidis, 39, were arrested in the southern suburb of Voula on Thursday, and the other seven in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens. Police are also seeking Giorgos Deliporanidis, 39, and Giorgos Papadopoulos, 32, as well as Constantine Sahinidis, a resident of Bulgaria, and Stylianos Andreou, a Cypriot living in the UK. Constantine and Dimitrios Saoulidis, as well as Deliporanidis, have allegedly been smuggling large quantities of cigarettes into the country since September 2001 from Bulgaria and Cyprus, concealing them in warehouses in Aspropyrgos and then smuggling them out hidden inside legitimate exports to western European countries, chiefly the UK.

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