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File Photo Mark Stedman via Photocall Ireland

The largest cigarette seizure in Europe happened in Drogheda this morning

Over €32 million worth of cigarettes were seized at Drogheda Port.

REVENUE SEIZED CIGARETTES with an estimated street value of €32 million in Drogheda Port this morning.

This is the largest seizure in Europe so far this year.

The cigarettes were seized along with 4,500 kgs of water pipe tobacco with a total retail value of approximately €14 million.

The operation targeted the criminal activities of an international organised crime group headed up by Irish and UK nationals and based in Europe.

The cargo vessel transporting the cigarettes and tobacco, the MV Shingle, which was loaded in Slovenia and arrived into Drogheda Port via Lisbon – was also seized.

The Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, congratulated Revenue on the seizures:

This intelligence-led seizure represents a significant potential loss to the Exchequer and is a significant blow to the criminals involved in this illicit trade.

The seizure represents a potential loss to the Exchequer of nearly €13 million, assuming it would have displaced the equivalent full tax paid quantity of cigarettes and tobacco.

Main Destination 

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) says Ireland is the main destination in Europe for international smugglers.

RAS spokesman Benny Gilsenan said, “the fact that this seizure is the biggest in Europe so far this year shows that we have become the number one target for international crime gangs and smugglers, who are attracted here by low fines and high prices.

We hope that it will act as a wake-up call to the Government. There is clearly an enormous problem with smugglers targeting Ireland and there’s an urgent need for Revenue to get whatever resources they need to tackle this problem.

Follow up search of premises are underway and investigations are continuing both nationally and internationally.

If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illegal cigarettes or tobacco, they can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295.

Read: Almost 25,000 cigarettes seized by customs officers in Cork>

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