OFFICERS from the Guardia Civil have seized more than 5,550 boxes of illegal tobacco at Malaga Airport.
The agents intercepted the tobacco, which was made by two different brands, across two raids on October 12 and 30, finding the haul amongst the luggage of three people preparing to fly to London.
As the luggage was being loaded onto the plane, a suitcase opened and large amounts of tobacco were found inside. Officers tracked down the suitcase’s owner, ascertaining he had checked in two other pieces of luggage and finding two other people had checked in with him. In total, they found nine bags belonging to the passengers who were all headed to Stanstead Airport in the UK.
Around €10,000 of tobacco was found, weighing around 148 kilos in total across 2,960 packages. The British nationals were all charged with smuggling and were forced to hand over the tobacco to customs at Malaga Airport.
Two further passengers were intercepted on October 30 carrying 5,560 boxes of tobacco headed for Rome. Officers investigated them for smuggling and seized the tobacco.
The illegal sale of tobacco has long been a problem on the Costa del Sol with organisers forced to crack down at this year’s Malaga feria.
The council this year installed an authorised tobacconist to reduce the problem. The retailer, located in the Real de la Feria, attracted large crowds of smokers, although some illegal street vendors continued to trade, according to media reports.
Head of Security at Malaga Council, Mario Cortes, said although not many police officers were brought in to deal with the problem, more measures were put in place to stop the sale of illegal tobacco this year, leading to 200 packets of cigarettes being confiscated.