A 47-year-old Lincoln man was among seven people arrested after a raid in Bolton found over 3 million illegal cigarettes hidden inside imported metal pipes.
HM Revenue and Customs officers made the discovery after raiding a South Bolton business on Friday, April 25.
Alleged gang members were found removing Pride cigarettes from the pipes and into a van, which was also seized.
HMRC say that the illegal cigarettes caused a £1 million loss in unpaid duty and VAT.
The Lincoln man was arrested alongside three men from Bolton, one man from Swindon, a man from Stalybridge and a man from London.
All men have been bailed until July while HMRC investigate.
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation at HMRC, said: “Cheap whites, as they are known, are cigarettes manufactured abroad often specifically for the smugglers and criminal networks to use for money laundering.
“If you are offered cheap cigarettes it may seem like a bargain, but there are no controls over what is mixed into these products and by buying them smokers are funding international organised crime gangs and helping them to evade taxes across many borders.”