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Friday 20 July 2018

Gardai arrest 11 people after discovery of illegal cigarette factory

The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Gardai have arrested 11 people after the discovery of an illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath.

In a joint operation this morning, Revenue and An Garda Síochána, as part of the Joint Agency Task Force closed down the factory in Jenkinstown.

The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue

11 men, all from Eastern Europe and aged in their late 20s to late 50s, were arrested by gardaí and brought to Dundalk Garda Station.

They are currently being detained under Section 4 – Criminal Justice Act 1984.

The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue
The illegal commercial cigarette factory in Co Meath. Photo: Revenue

Revenue officers found more than 40 tonnes of tobacco, components for the manufacture of cigarettes, and approximately 25 million cigarettes, branded “Mayfair”, ready for distribution.

Gardai said it was a sophisticated self-contained operation with machinery capable of producing 250,000 illicit cigarettes per hour and pre-processing, processing and packaging facilities, along with living quarters.

Illicit cigarettes that originated in this factory have previously been seized in both Ireland and the UK.

If the finished cigarettes seized at the factory today had reached the Irish market, the estimated loss to the Exchequer would have been approximately €12 million.

Investigations are ongoing, nationally and internationally.

If you know someone is evading tax or involved in smuggling, or the illegal cigarette trade, report it. Contact Revenue’s Confidential Freephone 1800 295 295.

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