Madurai City Police have seized around 10 tonnes of banned tobacco products from two trucks here in the early hours of Saturday.

Based on a tip-off that two container trucks and a cargo auto rickshaw carrying banned tobacco products were parked near Madurai railway junction, the Delta team of Madurai City Commissioner of Police raided the spot and found the contraband. Based on confession from the drivers of the vehicles, the police raided two lorry sheds on North Masi Street where 16 bags of tobacco products were seized, Deputy Commissioner of Police R. Shiva Prasad said.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the tobacco products were brought from Bengaluru and packed in white bags in the guise of bundles of saris and spices and brought to Madurai,” he added.

From Madurai, the goods are stealthily taken in smaller cargo vehicles to various districts as far as Kanniyakumari. “We have picked up four suspects and interrogation is under way,” he added.

As the lorry shed personnel were also involved in the smuggling, the police conducted an inquiry with M. Balamurugan and A. Surya Prakash of two lorry sheds. It was revealed that V. Balasubramani alias Palani, 50, of Bharathiyar Street and his son Karthik, both owners of trucks, had booked the parcels and they only knew the exact movement of the contraband.

The police have also nabbed drivers Duraipandi, 63, and his son Balasubramani, 35.

All the four – managers of the lorry sheds and the truck drivers, along with the vehicles and the seized tobacco products were handed over to Food Safety Officer for further action, Mr. Shiva Prasad added. The police are on the lookout for the truck owners.

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