Police in Spain say they have disrupted the illegal operations of a covert underground cigarette factory on Thursday (Feb. 20).
The facility, which is first of its kind in the European Union (EU), was found four metres (13 feet) under a horse stable in Málaga province, south of Spain.
Statements from Spanish police and Europol noted the arrest of 20 people from Britain, Ukraine and Lithuania following a series of joint-operation raids between last Thursday, February 13, and Friday, February 14.
Europol further disclosed that agents discovered beds and living quarters for the workers in the bunker factory.
The crafty owners blocked access to the plant, which police suspect began operations in 2019, by concealing it with a cargo container.
Workers were reportedly forced to toil in the incredibly cramped space, amid dangerous and toxic conditions and were not allowed to leave the facility on their own.
The illegal factory, with the capability of churning out 3,500 cigarettes per hour, had a complete production line.
The Spanish Civil Guard said the gang included mostly Britons. One of the ring leaders was said to be a fugitive British citizen identified only by his initials, D.D.
More than 3 million cigarettes, quantities of hashish and marijuana, as well as three weapons, were seized.