Large stash of cigarettes suggests to police an international ring

Police discovered a warehouse in Cristo Rey Thursday, and it contained an estimated 40,000 packs of cigarettes.

The Fuerza Pública and the Departamento de Inteligencia Policial say that the cigarettes were imported from India, China, Paraguay and even Panamá. Police attributed the smuggling of cigarettes to an international ring.

By not paying taxes, cigarette smugglers can offer smokers a lower price than conventional outlets. Police said they became aware of the suspect because he appeared to have had a sales route through downtown San José.

The cigarettes are popular because police said they watched customers standing in line in order to make purchases from the man identified by the last names of Quesada Fernández. He worked the route in a vehicle, police said, and purchasers would be given the cigarettes in a black bag topped off with candies.

Police said they watched the man make sales in the street near the Catedral Metropolitana. Then they were able to follow him to locate the warehouse that was raided Thursday morning.

Juan José Andrade Morales, the director general of the Fuerza Pública, said that his agency would be increasing its efforts against smuggled goods that are damaging to the health.

The cigarettes have not been approved by the Ministerio de Salud, and police said they had no idea what they might contain.

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