Spanish police said on Sunday they had broken up a gang that operated three illegal tobacco factories employing Ukrainians who fled Russia's invasion.
The Guardia Civil police force said in a statement that the operation is believed to have smuggled “large quantities” of tobacco transformed into counterfeit cigarettes that were sold across Spain and neighboring countries.
It added that the factories, located in the northern region of La Rioja, Seville, and Valencia, used “advanced technology” and could produce 540,000 cigarette packs per day.
Police said the ring employed Ukrainians who had moved to Spain illegally or had entered the country legally seeking refuge from the war.
They also revealed that they seized 10 tonnes of tobacco leaves and 3.5 million cigarette packs worth a total of 37.5 million euros ($40 million).