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Estonian customs find 4.5 mln illicit cigarettes from truck

BC, Tallinn, 20.02.2018.Print version
The officials of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board during an inspection of a truck at the port of Paldiski found 4.5 million contraband cigarettes from the vehicle's load, reports LETA/BNS.


Siim Rudissaar, head of service at the investigative department of the Tax and Customs Board, said that the truck had a Lithuanian license plate and a trailer and arrived to Estonia on February 10 through the Ikla border crossing point and on the same day headed to Paldiski to board a ship to Sweden, spokespeople for the Tax and Customs Board said.


However, customs officials had the suspicion that illicit goods may have been hidden in the load in the trailer. "According to the accompanying documents of the goods, the load included windows produced in Latvia, but there were indications of a window factory of another country on the window frames. We carried out a full inspection of the vehicle and during that found altogether approximately 225,000 packs or 4,498,000 cigarettes both bearing Belarusian tax stamps and without tax stamps, which were hidden inside the windows," Rudissaar said.


A criminal procedure has been launched to investigate the more detailed circumstances of the case. Eleliis Rattam, head of the pre-trial procedure and district prosecutor of the North District Prosecutor's Office, said that more detailed circumstances of the crime, including the supply and sales chain of the cigarettes and the beneficiaries of the illicit trade, will be identified during a criminal procedure.


The last detection of a large amount of illicit cigarettes took place a few weeks ago in the second half of January, when 1,049,000 cigarettes without tax stamps were found hidden between peat sacks from the load of a trailer also headed to board a boat to Sweden in Paldiski. "When it comes the detection of such an amount, a sniffer dog was of help, after whose signal the truck was sent to an additional inspection," Rudissaar said.


On two occasions last year altogether approximately 11 million contraband cigarettes were detected at the port of Paldiski, which were part of attempts to transport them to Western Europe through Paldiski and Sweden. "These detections of illicit cigarette loads indicate that people attempt to transport contraband cigarettes further to Western Europe through the port of Paldiski and this is why the loads moving through the port of Paldiski are under increased supervision," Rudissaar said.

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