20.11.2020 – 08:12
Customs investigation office in Essen
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Bielefeld, Essen, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Krefeld, Mönchenglachbach, Meerbusch, Tönisvorst Bielefeld, Essen, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Krefeld, Mönchenglachbach, Meerbusch, Tönisvorst (ots)
In a concentrated campaign from November 10 to 12, 2020, the Essen customs investigation office, commissioned by the Düsseldorf public prosecutor, struck a severe blow against the illegal cigarette trade. 11 properties in Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Mönchenglachbach, Meerbusch, Tönisvorst were searched. Nine people were provisionally arrested, arrest warrants were issued against four men, almost 3.5 million untaxed cigarettes, over 120,000 euros in cash and five shooting pens were seized. Since autumn 2019, the Essen Customs Investigation Office – Cologne office – has been investigating a group of three Polish perpetrators who are suspected of trading in large-scale untaxed cigarettes. The investigations of the customs investigators showed that the group was smuggling illegal cigarettes from Poland to Germany and Belgium with trucks registered in Poland. Some of the untaxed cigarettes were brought to German warehouses. Presumably the cigarettes were intended for the British market. “Despite the targeted harmonization of excise taxes in Europe, the prices for a carton of cigarettes are around 30 euros in Poland and up to 100 euros in Great Britain and Ireland,” says Heike Sennewald, press spokeswoman for the Essen customs investigation office. On the night of November 10th, a transport of the group was checked by customs officers from the main customs office in Bielefeld and pallets with a total of 17,450 cartons of untaxed and presumably counterfeit cigarettes of the “Richmond blue” brand were secured on the loading area. The Polish truck driver was arrested. Incidentally, “Richmond blue” is rarely found in legal stores in Germany.
From the morning of November 11, 2020, the customs investigators of the Essen customs investigation office, supported by the main customs offices in Bielefeld, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Krefeld and the customs investigation offices in Berlin and Hanover, opened a total of eleven objects in Düsseldorf, Krefeld and Mönchengladbach , Meerbusch and Tönisvorst searched and seven Polish nationals arrested. During the searches, a total of more than 120,000 euros in cash, five shooting pens, small amounts of untaxed cigarettes, cell phones and written documents were seized. On November 12th, at the request of the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor, two Polish nationals, aged 42 and 39, and the 43-year-old Polish truck driver, who were most suspected of being, were brought before the judge and arrested. Five other people were released. Another 43-year-old main suspect, who was under surveillance by the customs investigators, was arrested by officers from the main customs office in Bielefeld on November 12th after his entry from Poland. At the request of the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office, he was also brought before the judge and arrested. The estimated tax damage of the untaxed cigarettes seized in this campaign alone is around 550,000 euros. The investigation, led by the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor, is ongoing.
Original content by: Zollfahndungsamt Essen, transmitted by news aktuell