BREAKING NEWS: Nineteen arrested in King’s Lynn and Swaffham over tobacco and money laundering probe
Nineteen people have been arrested following a series of raids carried out as part of a major investigation into the illegal importation of tobacco and money laundering.
Police and customs officers executed warrants at 22 addresses in the Lynn and Swaffham areas yesterday.
Drugs, a firearm and ammunition, jewellery, electrical equipment and five vehicles were seized.
Thirteen men and six women, aged between 20 and 58 and all from the Lynn and Swaffham areas, were arrested in connection with the illegal importation of tobacco, money laundering and possession of criminal property.
Seventeen of them have been released under investigation pending further inquiries. One man remains in custody and a woman is due to be interviewed later today.
The raids follow a joint investigation between police and HM Revenue and Customs, which has involved nearly 100 officers.
Superintendent Dave Buckley, local policing commander for West Norfolk, said: “This operation demonstrates our resolve to work with partners in disrupting criminal gangs who operate locally.
Our priority is keeping our communities safe and dealing with organised crime is part of this. Police in the Kings Lynn area will continue to target those who commit crime and exploit vulnerable people.”
Mark Cox, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and wider criminality will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year.
“Those dealing in illicit tobacco are harming honest businesses and stealing money from the public services we all rely on.
“Tax fraud affects all of us and I would ask anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco to report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788887.”