SHARE

A Northern Irish man was arrested Thursday for operating an illicit fuel plant and dodging $15 million (€9 million) in duties and taxes.

The production facility was discovered by Ireland’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) during a search of industrial spaces in the Meigh area of Northern Ireland.

HMRC and the Police Service of Northern Ireland seized about 793 gallons (3,000 liters) of fuel from the plant along with machinery and two vehicles.

Officials also safely removed 15 tons of toxic waste from the facility.

Police said the plant was capable of producing nearly 3.4 million gallons (13 million liters) of illicit fuel a year.

The man’s name has not been release.

“Our success in today’s operation means we have stopped a large amount of illicit fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping law-abiding traders fight unfair competition,” HMRC’s Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation Mike Parkinson said.

The HMRC said that fuel fraud has intensified since 2011 when the sulfur standards used to identify illicit fuel were relaxed, making the fraudulent products more difficult to detect.

According to research firm Grant Thornton, the illicit fuel trade contributes to the $1.58 billion (€946 million) per year in lost taxes and $981 million (€587 million) in lost revenue to rights holders and retailers caused by black market sales in the UK.