The Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal presented Monday in Le Boulou (Pyrénées-Orientales), a new 2022-2025 plan aimed at “changing scale” in the fight against tobacco trafficking, which has risen sharply in recent years.
This traffic has become extremely lucrative to the point of becoming a privileged vector of financing for criminal mafias, declared Mr. Attal from the Pyrenees-Orientales, an important smuggling zone between Spain and France.
It is far too easy to buy tobacco illegally in our country. It is unbearable for the tobacconists, unbearable for the respect of our rules, he also affirmed.
More than 284 tons of contraband tobacco were seized in 2020, 402 tons in 2021 and already more than 600 tons, in the first ten months of 2022.
This new three-year plan plans to strengthen the means of customs to fight against this trafficking, by assigning some 300 additional agents by 2025 to the fight against fraud.
It also plans, by 2024, the deployment of ten vans equipped with X-ray scanners capable of sifting through a vehicle in sixty seconds, for an amount of 45 million euros.
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On the other hand, on a model tested in Lyon, anti-tobacco trafficking groups capable of carrying out operations and investigations will be created in the nine main smuggling areas of the country.
A cybertobacco network will also be set up to track trafficking on the Internet or social networks, and scientific customs tools, which make it possible to trace the origin of contraband tobacco, will be developed in order to better determine the trafficking circuits.
Mr. Attal also plans to open a reflection, with the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti, with a view to strengthening criminal sanctions against buyers, sellers and manufacturers of contraband tobacco.