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Europol says 18 suspects in illegal tobacco trade arrested

PARIS (Reuters) - Europol said on Monday authorities from seven countries had arrested 18 people of different nationalities suspected of money laundering and illegal tobacco trade.

Police have dismantled an international organized crime group which was involved in the large-scale illegal trade of tobacco, Europol said.

“During an action day, coordinated at Eurojust, 18 persons from different nationalities have been arrested, who are suspected of money laundering and the illegal trade and storage of around 670.000 kilos of tobacco,” Europol said in a statement.

A total of 29 searches have taken place in Italy, Poland, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, mainly in the south eastern province of Limburg. Authorities from Romania and Cyprus have contributed actively to the operation.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by GV De Clercq