Police make record seizure of illegal cigarettes and tires

By ETCO


Mário Martins, Diário dos Campos Gerais – PR, 13/04/2006


PONTA GROSSA ? A joint operation involving agents of drug trafficking repression from the Antitoxic Police (Datox) and inspectors from the Brazilian Association to Combat Counterfeiting (ABCF), resulted in the seizure of illegal tires and cigarettes. At least 30 people will be indicted in a police investigation, accused of smuggling, embezzlement, forgery, commercial fraud, among others provided for in the Penal Code and the Consumer Defense Code.


ABCF police and inspectors took to the streets before 9 am on Wednesday. In the morning, the teams monitored the Calçadão da Coronel Cláudio, squares and the surroundings of the Central, Oficinas and Nova Russia terminals. ?In the afternoon, we visited more than 90 points of sale and seized 3,5 packs of cigarettes of various brands that came from Paraguay,? says researcher Bernardo Kirian Neto, from Datox.


Tires – The operation was already being completed when the teams discovered a warehouse with 700 tires, allegedly illegal, on Rua Antônio Saad, in the Santa Monica neighborhood. ?In reality, we stopped to inspect a building that theoretically would function as a market, but we ended up finding a large quantity of these products,? comments lawyer Rodolfo Ramazzini, director of the ABCF.


According to Ramazzini, all the tires are of foreign origin, have already been used and could not be resold to the consumer as new. ?We have a totally irregular situation in this place because the laws prohibit the importation of any used goods?, he emphasizes. Yesterday, the lawyer sent an official letter from delegate Danilo Cesto, requesting the opening of an investigation to determine the origin of this material and identify the person responsible for introducing the tires into Brazilian territory.


The owner of the market that served as a warehouse for the tires was located early in the evening by police and taken to Datox for questioning. The deposition began at 19 pm and there was no time to finish. She could leave the police station in handcuffs. On Monday, according to police officer Kirian Neto, another 29 people who were selling the contraband cigarette will be heard. Some are street vendors. Others own bars, cafeterias and small markets located on the outskirts of the city.


consumer alert


PONTA GROSSA – Smuggled cigarettes do not only have negative effects on the Brazilian economy. Consumer health is also affected. ?This illegal cigarette is composed of insecticides, agricultural pesticides, among other harmful substances,? emphasizes Rodolfo Ramazzini. An analysis carried out at the request of the Brazilian Tobacco Association (Abifumo), with 45 brands sold illegally, showed that all of them contained foreign bodies, such as grains of sand, plastic, insects, mold, hair and bird feathers.


According to ABCF, the average price of a smuggled or counterfeit cigarette pack is R$0,74, while the average price of legally produced cigarettes is R$1,36. The difference of 62 cents represents a difference of 84% in the price of the legal cigarette to the illegal one. In the national ranking, Paraná participates with 4% of the total volume of smuggled and illegal cigarette trade. São Paulo ranks first, with a 23% share.