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Gabriel Attal unveils a new plan to fight against tobacco trafficking

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Benjamin Peter (in Perpignan), edited by Laura Laplaud
07:18, December 06, 2022

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The government presented on Monday a new plan to fight tobacco smuggling. Visiting a customs service in the Pyrénées-Orientales, Gabriel Attal announced more resources and staff as well as the creation of anti-tobacco groups in nine French cities.

A traffic that finances the mafias, tobacco smuggling. During his trip to the Pyrénées-Orientales, the Minister of Action and Public Accounts Gabriel Attal presented his plan to fight against this trafficking. Visiting a customs service, he announced more resources and staff as well as the creation of anti-tobacco groups, the GLAT, in nine cities across France. A plan that the Minister has justified by the explosion of traffic over the past five years.

Three counterfeit factories dismantled in France

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“The scale of what we have to deal with has changed”, launches Gabriel Attal based on the seizure figures, which have increased from 200 tons in 2017 to nearly 800 tons in 2022. For the first time in 2022, three counterfeit factories that could produce up to 2 million cigarettes a day have been dismantled on national soil. But that’s not enough, traffic thrives online.

“There are illegal sales on social networks, sometimes to minors. I myself have experienced this by going to certain messaging applications, for example by searching with keywords, you find a lot too easily [comment] buy tobacco illegally in our country and it’s unbearable!” exclaimed the Minister of Action and Public Accounts.

Trafficking that can lead to other criminal activities

It is a lucrative traffic, less risky, which can be the gateway to other criminal activities, as noted by Corinne Cléostrate in charge of the fight against customs fraud. “We see individuals who have backgrounds in narcotics, in the counterfeiting of certain objects and we find them in tobacco. What we did not see ten years ago. In fact, these organizations are looking for profit, they invest like companies would in different industries.”

© Benjamin Peter / Europe 1

A parallel market which also has a cost for the State since the loss of tax revenue linked to the smuggling of cigarettes is estimated at three billion euros per year.

Source: Europe1

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