Nine arrested in multi million pound cigarette and drug smuggling investigation

Editor’s Note:  Below is the government May 25th Press Release regarding the story reported here.  It is being reprinted here to call attention to the recent Comment posted below the story by a reader.  The Counterfeit Cigarette Enforcement Forum appreciates the contributions from our readers.

From:  HM Revenue & Customs

Nine people have been arrested today by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers investigating a Heathrow freight warehouse which is believed to be used for cigarette and drug smuggling.

Around 90 investigators from HMRC, working with officers from Border Force, searched the Heathrow warehouse along with eight residential and three business properties in Frimley in Surrey; Southall, Stanmore and West Drayton in Middlesex; High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and Luton in Bedfordshire as part of the enquiry.

The arrests come as a result of a long-running HMRC investigation, codenamed Operation Bypass.

John Cooper, HMRC’s Assistant Director for Criminal Investigation said: “Operation Bypass is an HMRC-led investigation targeting those suspected to be involved in attempts to smuggle cigarettes and illegal drugs into the UK. At various stages of the investigation, we have worked closely with colleagues from Border Force. Further details cannot be provided at this stage of the investigation as enquiries continue.

“However, our operation today sends out a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality; attempts to smuggle goods illegally into the UK will not be tolerated, and together with partner enforcement agencies we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be involved in this type of criminal activity.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Arrest details: 1x male, 43 years old, from Southall

1x male, 25 years old, from Southall

1x male, 46 years old, from Southall

1x male, 51 years old, from in Frimley

1x male, 56 years old, from Stanmore

1x male, 49 years old, from West Drayton

1 x male, 48 years old, from High Wycombe

1 x male, 40 years old, from Luton

1 x male, details to be confirmed

Contact Information

HM Revenue & Customs


Bob Gaiger

HM Revenue & Customs

Phone: 07802 634 144


HMRC Out of Hours

HM Revenue & Customs

Phone: 07860 359544



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