Sunday 25 August 2019

Drugs and tobacco worth €75m seized


A pile of cigarettes.
A pile of cigarettes.

David Chance

Illegal drugs worth €33m and tobacco products to the value of €42m were seized last year, according to a report from the Revenue Commissioners.

It estimates that 23 million packs of illicit cigarettes are being consumed here each year.

In its annual report, the Commissioners said 13pc of cigarettes consumed here were illegal.

It says that the loss to the Government in terms of revenue was €211m in a year.

Through the year, some 67 million illicit cigarettes and 1,915kg of smoking tobacco was seized, including the discovery of the first illegal cigarette factory on Irish soil in Co Louth.

At the factory, Revenue officers discovered 23.5 million cigarettes and 71 tonnes of tobacco with a combined retail value of €49.6m.

Countries with high levels of duty have greater illegal cigarette problems, with increased margins for smugglers and at the same time increasing savings from their purchase.

Prices here are among the highest in Europe.

Seizures of cocaine and heroin with a street value of €16.69m topped the list of illicit drugs found, with cannabis coming in second in value at €9.14m.

One raid, that was dubbed 'Operation Skunk Tank', detected 66kg of cannabis resin with an estimated value of €1.32m at Dublin Port, addressed to a location in Northern Ireland.

By contrast, seizures of illicit alcohol products came in at just €1.5m.

Irish Independent

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