Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Illegal cigarette factory dismantled

An illegal cigarette factory discovered on the border close to Dundalk has been dismantled.  

The illicit factory found in Jenkinstown, County Louth was dismantled on Thursday last by Revenue officers from the Republic of Ireland and a team from An Garda Síochana.

A customs spokesperson said the plant is the first illicit cigarette production factory to be discovered in the Republic and he added that it was in full operation when revenue officers and the armed support unit of An Garda Síochana entered the premises just before eight o’clock on Thursday morning. 

“Eleven men, all of them from eastern Europe and aged in their late 20s to late 50s, were arrested by Gardaí and brought to Dundalk Garda station,” said the spokesperson.

“Revenue officers found more than 40 tonnes of tobacco, all the pre-cursor components for the manufacture of cigarettes, and approximately 25 million cigarettes, branded ‘Mayfair’, ready for distribution.

“This was a sophisticated self-contained operation with machinery capable of producing 250,000 illicit cigarettes per hour and pre-processing, processing and packaging facilities, along with living quarters.

“Illicit cigarettes that originated in this factory have previously been seized in both Ireland and the UK.

“If the finished cigarettes seized at the factory had reached the Irish market, the estimated loss to the exchequer would have been approximately €12m.

 “Investigations are ongoing, nationally and internationally.”