Spanish gang exploited Ukrainian refugees’ labor

With the assistance of Europol in Spain uncovered a criminal network engaged in the illegal manufacture of cigarettes and exploiting refugees from Ukraine.

Police in Spain uncovered a criminal network that exploited the labor of Ukrainian refugees in illegal cigarette factories and smuggled large quantities of tobacco. During the investigation, in which, among others, was involved Europol, detained 27 people in different regions of Spain, reports BBC.

In addition, 10 tons of tobacco leaves and 3.5 million packs of cigarettes, luxury cars, and jewelry worth a total of 37.5 million euros were confiscated.


Three illegal factories

According to this information, the fugitives from Ukraine worked in three illegal tobacco factories operated by the network and lived in extremely cramped conditions in temporary shelters. They were not allowed to leave the factories and had to work long hours per day.

The factories in the La Rioja region of northern Spain, as well as in Seville and Valencia, were equipped with “state-of-the-art” machines and could produce 540,000 packs of cigarettes a day. The products were sold throughout Spain and in other countries. The ringleaders lived in luxury in the seaside resort of Marbella and are suspected of money laundering on a large scale.

According to the UN, up to 8 million refugees arrived in Europe after Russia’s large-scale war against Ukraine, more than 160,000 of them registered in Spain.

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