Border guard apprehends smuggler in Setomaa

Illegal border crossing near the village of Kostkova.
Illegal border crossing near the village of Kostkova. Source: PPA

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) officers detected suspicious movement near the border in Setomaa and detained a man suspected of smuggling after he illegally crossed the border.

Border guard officers established at around 3 a.m. that a person wearing two boxes on their back has illegally crossed the border near the village of Kostkova in Setomaa.

Officers, a canine unit and drone team responded to the scene and found signs of an illegal border crossing. A man suspected of smuggling was apprehended soon after.

The suspect is an Estonian citizen and known to PPA officers. The man has been taken to lockup and proceedings launched with the Tax and Customs Board is in charge.

Meelis Saarepuu, head of the Southern Prefecture's border guard bureau, said that officers detected a border crossing in a region where no fence or other type of obstacle has been erected. "It is possible the smuggler hoped he could escape the attention of the border guard in this section. However, the border guard has eyes and ears everywhere, which is why the violation was quickly discovered and the smuggler apprehended," he added.

"It is a telling example of the fact that information of the situation on the border and officers to respond to the scene are needed first and foremost both for stopping individual border crossings and, for example, migration. Physical obstacles buy time but cannot prevent every attempt to cross the border as new ways to bypass them are constantly being sought. That is why it is important to develop border infrastructure that helps border guards respond even faster along the entire border. Also, to have a complete overview at all times of what is happening at every single border crossing point," Saarepuu explained.

Border guard officers have established 50 illegal border crossings this year. Most involved Estonian citizens who were spending time near the border and crossed it by accident. In addition, six smugglers and five foreigners tied to illegal migration have been apprehended.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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