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Six workers found trapped in illegal underground tobacco factory in Spain

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Six workers found trapped in illegal underground tobacco factory in Spain

 

2020-02-20T131459Z_1_LYNXMPEG1J17E_RTROPTP_4_SPAIN-CRIME-TOBACCO.JPG

A machine is pictured in an illegal underground tobacco factory during a police raid in Monda, near Malaga, in southern Spain, February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

 

MONDA, Spain (Reuters) - Six workers trapped in squalid, airless conditions were rescued from an elaborate cannabis farm and counterfeit tobacco factory hidden beneath a mountain village in Spain after police arrested the suspected masterminds of the operation.

 

The secret operation, complete with machinery that could produce up to 3,500 cigarettes an hour, was hidden in a maze of tunnels accessible only through a trapdoor covered with hay in a stable block, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

 

But once the suspected kingpins were seized, no one replenished the generator that provided oxygen to the workers, a mix of Ukrainian and Lithuanian nationals.

 

This left them gasping for air as they shouted and banged on the soundproofed trapdoor to raise the alarm to the police investigating above their heads.

 

"Once inside, the police agents saw with great surprise the six workers who were struggling to breathe in an utterly insalubrious atmosphere," police said.

 

"If the officials had not found the clandestine factory in time, the lack of oxygen would have soon made ... the underground conditions incompatible with the survival of the workers who were there."

 

Spanish police raided an illegal tobacco factory set up four metres beneath stables near the Andalusian city of Malaga, making over a dozen arrests and freeing six workers trapped underground. Adam Reed reports.

 

The underground factory in Monda, near Malaga in southern Spain, housed an indoor cannabis plantation and sophisticated machinery enabling even the plastification of cigarette packs, all kept away from prying eyes by "enormous security measures", according to police documents.

 

In its statement, the ministry said it was the first subterranean illegal tobacco plant discovered in Europe.

 

Spanish police, working alongside Interpol in the sting operation dubbed "Hannibal", confiscated 153,000 packs of cigarettes, more than 17 tonnes of rolling tobacco, 20 kg of hashish and 144 kg of marijuana.

 

Twelve Britons suspected of leading the operation were arrested and are being held in custody.

 

The six workers were freed pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

"The investigating judge will decide their degree of responsibility," a police spokesman said.

 

(Reporting by Jon Nazca; Writing by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Visuals by Jon Nazca; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alison Williams)

 

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-21

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but fags are so cheap in Spain.

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2 hours ago, car720 said:

but fags are so cheap in Spain.

But the cost of manufacture in such conditions with slave labor is much cheaper. Ever hear about a cigarette company that went bust?

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19 hours ago, Proboscis said:

But the cost of manufacture in such conditions with slave labor is much cheaper. Ever hear about a cigarette company that went bust?

Not as long as governments keep them propped up in order to raise revenue through levies.

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20 hours ago, Proboscis said:

But the cost of manufacture in such conditions with slave labor is much cheaper. Ever hear about a cigarette company that went bust?

They probably smuggled everything to the UK since the mastermind were all Britons. 

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