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Border guards catch contraband cigarette smugglers in Põlva County

Contraband cigarettes. May 2017.
Contraband cigarettes. May 2017. Source: (Police and Border Guard Board)

Last Friday night, Estonian border guards in Põlva County caught two contraband cigarette smugglers in the vicinity of the Estonian-Russian border. The smugglers were sentenced in an expedited procedure to a one-month shock incarceration.

At around 2 a.m. on Saturday, border guards discovered two men moving in the vicinity of the Southeastern Estonian border in Värska Municipality, Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) spokesperson Kerly Virk told ERR.

The border guards lay in wait when they noticed that the men were carrying cases on their back typically used to illegally bring contraband cigarettes lacking tax stamps across the border.

Border guards detained a 22-year-old and 26-year old in Värska hamlet. As they did not have the suspicious cases on them at the time, a service dog was sent to patrol the border area, where a total of six cases of contraband cigarettes were found.

The next day, a court sentenced the two men in an expedited procedure to a one-month shock incarceration.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Külli Zimm of the South District Prosecutor's Office, the two men were from Russia.

Tamar Tamm, head of the South Prefecture Border Guard Bureau, explained that throughout the years, the PPA has used all means legally available to them to manage cross-border smuggling.

He noted that in addition to tough judicial practice, better equipment and visibility-improving border clearing work have both also helped to curb illicit cross-border trade.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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