Six million cigarettes seized
Published 08/02/2011 | 15:24
Six million contraband cigarettes have been seized after an international surveillance operation.
The haul was discovered by Customs officers in two commercial vehicles in Coolock, in north Dublin, earlier today.
Six suspects were interviewed by officials, but no arrests have been made.
It is estimated the cigarettes had a retail value of €2.5m and a potential loss to the exchequer of €2.1m.
The Revenue Commissioners said the consignment arrived into Dublin Port from China and was concealed in a shipment listed as glasswool insulation rolls.
The brands of cigarettes seized were Palace, Lambert & Butler and Marlboro.
A spokeswoman revealed the European Anti Fraud Office (Olaf) played a pivotal role in assisting the Revenue Commissioners in the operation.
"Investigations are ongoing, both nationally and internationally," she said.
Officials were backed up by gardai from Coolock and Swords during the raid.
Retailers Against Smuggling commended Revenue for the sting.
William Hanley, shopkeeper and spokesman, said for too long the retail sector has been targeted by national and international criminals.
"These people are flooding the Irish market with cheap, unregulated cigarettes that are depriving both the retail sector and the Irish State of hundreds of millions of euro annually," he said.
"There is a major criminal element to smuggling and this is having a detrimental effect on the industry.
"In simple terms, criminals are closing shops and ruining communities as a result of tobacco smuggling."
Official figures show that so far this year 17.2 million cigarettes, with a retail value of approximately €7m, have been seized by Customs.
Members of the public and businesses with information on the smuggling or sale of illegal cigarettes are urged to call the confidential free phone number 1800 295 295.