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20 Tons of Bootleg Fuel Found in Refrigerated Truck

A contraband fuel tank
A contraband fuel tank Source: (ERR)
In the middle of June, Tax and Customs Board officials discovered 26 containers filled with illegal diesel fuel. The find was made during a routine control stop when a refrigerated truck arriving from Latvia was stopped in Pärnu.

Uku Tampere, spokesman for the Tax and Customs Board (MTA), told ERR that according to the cargo manifest, the truck should have hauled 26 containers filled with empty recyclable bottles.

The Police and Boarder Guard Board (PPA) started a criminal investigation regarding documentation fraud. The Latvian truck driver was given a four-month suspended sentence with a probationary period of three years.

The truck and its trailer were registered in Estonia and in addition to the counterfeit documents, the PPA filed a misdemeanor for carrying dangerous substances without proper care. The Tax and Customs Board filed a misdemeanor as well, regarding the misconduct of taxable goods. The people responsible have been identified and have been presented a 3,200 euro fine. In addition, the fuel has been transferred to state ownership

The leading investigator for the Police and Border Guard criminal division in Pärnu, Kaire Konts, said that counterfeit cargo manifests are rare, but in any case, all similar cases will lead to a criminal investigation.

Bootleg fuel from other countries has shown a growth trend these past few years. The head for the Tax and Customs Board’s Southern Mobile Control Division, Kunnar Keres, said that only a few months ago officials stopped three vehicles, each of them containing an approximate of 26,000 litres of diesel fuel. Already during the spring of this year, over 200,000 litres of illegal fuel has been confiscated.

Tax and Customs Board distributes the confiscated fuel for those in need. Recently the MTA, in corporation with Harju county administration, gave fuel in state ownership to be burned in boiler rooms. This time, the fuel was given to Haiba Orphanage, Paunküla Nursing Home, Karjaküla Social Center and Keila SOS Orphanage.

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