Ship, Cigarettes Seized in Drogheda Port
Largest seizure in Europe to date this year
In an intelligence-led operation, officers from the Irish Revenue’s Customs Service supported by An Garda Síochána, seized over 32 million cigarettes and 4,500 kgs of water pipe tobacco with a total retail value of approximately €14m at Drogheda Port on Tuesday morning.
The operation, resulting in the largest seizure of cigarettes in Europe to date this year, targeted the criminal activities of an international organized 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.
A follow-up search of the premises are underway and investigations are continuing both nationally and internationally.
Speaking about the seizure, Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin said:
"This seizure is significant in the fight against those engaged in the illicit cigarette and tobacco market. It is the culmination of months of dedicated work and international cooperation involving Revenue authorities and law enforcement agencies across several jurisdictions, including Slovenia, Portugal and Ireland.
The illicit cigarette market represents a very serious fraud on the Exchequer as well as undermining health policy and funding organised crime and today’s seizure represents a major blow to those involved in this criminal activity."