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Customs officers seize tobacco stashed in fenders, arrest two

Customs officers seized two fenders stashed with contraband tobacco after spotting suspicious activity in the area of Rosia Bay earlier this week.

Officers on board the Customs patrol vessel HMC Searcher intervened after observing how a vehicle entered Rosia Bay in the early hours of July 10 and delivered two large white fenders to a small vessel that had approached the quayside.

The officers intercepted the Spanish-registered vessel, boarded it and escorted it to Custom House for a thorough search, including the fenders that had been delivered.

The operation took place under heightened vigilance due to the suspicious circumstances observed at Rosia Bay, HM Customs said in a statement.

“The comprehensive search conducted at Custom House uncovered a commercial amount of tobacco,” the statement said.

“Approximately a total of 72 cartons from various brands and 180g rolling tobacco were found concealed within the interior of the fenders, which had been deliberately modified to serve as hiding places for the contraband.”

“The two individuals on board the vessel were promptly arrested and have since been placed on bail.”

Both the vessel and the tobacco have been seized as part of the ongoing investigation.

The Collector of Customs, John Payas, said: “HM Customs remains vigilant and committed to combating smuggling and protecting the integrity of Gibraltar’s borders.”

“The successful interception and seizure underscore the dedication and effectiveness of HM Customs officers in preventing illegal activities.”

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