Estonia busts truck carrying almost 1 million illegal cigarettes

Narva border crossing.
Narva border crossing. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

Tax and Customs Board (MTA) officials on Friday detained a truck carrying almost a million illegal cigarettes which had crossed the border from Russia.

The truck was detained at the Narva border crossing on Friday morning after an x-ray was carried out that raised suspicions about its cargo. Sniffer dogs' behavior also suggested the presence of illegal goods.

Upon further investigation, 969,900 cigarettes were discovered on the floor of the vehicle. The boxes bore Belarusian tax stamps and "NZ Gold" branding. 

The driver had not declared the goods during the border crossing process.

"Taking into account the amount of contraband seized, the state would have lost approximately €161,343 in excise duties," said Ursula Riimaa, MTA deputy director general.

The agency has now opened criminal proceedings which will be led by the Viru District Prosecutor's Office. 

The office's special affairs prosecutor Antti Aitsen said this is the largest cigarette smuggling case connected with the Narva border crossing in recent years.

"In the course of the procedure, we will find out, among other things, whether the contraband cigarettes were intended for distribution in Estonia or in another country," Aitsen added.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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