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Bulgaria breaks up illegal tobacco factory

Staff Writer |
Bulgarian authorities have neutralized an illegal factory for the production of chopped tobacco and arrested five suspects, the country's Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

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More than one ton of chopped tobacco, four cutting machines, a number of empty labeled packages and courier bills of lading were found in the facility, which was located in the village of Ablanitsa, some 220 km south of Sofia, the statement said.

According to the data collected so far, the criminal group had bought the raw tobacco from producers, and found customers mainly on the internet, the statement said.

The requests for chopped tobacco have been received online, and the shipments were usually one kilogram each, the statement said. Up to 150 shipments were sent per day, it added.

The damage to the state budget in this case was considerable, because the excise per kilogram of chopped tobacco for cigarettes and pipes is 152 BGN ($91.6), the statement said.

Revenue from tobacco products is of great importance for the state budget. Its share in total tax revenue is 9-10 percent per year.

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