Brazilian Police Seize 7,500 E-Cigarettes And Close 16 Shops

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    Recent enforcement actions by Brazilian authorities, led by the Federal Police of Manaus (PF), have targeted the illicit trade of e-cigarettes, resulting in the shutdown of multiple shops and the seizure of a significant quantity of contraband.

    Operation Vapor Digital

    Named Operation Vapor Digital, this collaborative effort involving the Federal Police, Federal Revenue Service, and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) aims to combat the smuggling of e-cigarettes in the region.

    Extent of Enforcement

    On May 28th, 2024, authorities conducted 27 search and seizure operations across 16 shops, temporarily halting their operations through court orders.

    Enforcement Details

    The operation deployed a substantial number of resources, with 110 federal police officers, 60 tax officials, and 47 vehicles taking part in the crackdown.

    Seizures and Discoveries

    During the searches, authorities confiscated firearms, ammunition, drugs, e-cigarettes, and a considerable sum of cash. However, specific figures regarding the seized items were not disclosed.

    Precursor Investigations

    This enforcement action follows earlier seizures by the Federal Revenue Service in February, where over 7,500 e-cigarettes were intercepted at postal and air transport companies bound for individuals, legal entities, and distributors in Manaus.

    Criminal Allegations

    Suspects were implicated in various crimes, including smuggling, document forgery, use of false documents, money laundering, tax evasion, and association with criminal organizations.

    Legal Ramifications

    As a result of the investigation, the court ordered the suspension of economic activities for the 16 establishments suspected of selling illegal goods. Additionally, the personal profiles of the suspects on social networks were suspended.

    Broader Scope of Investigation

    Beyond the illicit sale of e-cigarettes, authorities are investigating the unauthorized sale of other prohibited tobacco products, such as imported cigarettes and hookahs, without Anvisa authorization.