Contraband trafficking, illegal border crossings down in 2017

PPA service dog Como and packs of contraband cigarettes found at the border. Photo is illustrative. Source: (PPA)

Construction on the border strip on the Estonian side of the temporary border line separating Estonia and Russia is still underway, but numbers are already indicating that the new strip is helping to prevent both contraband trafficking as well as illegal border crossings.

Compared to the first 11 months of 2015, the number of illegal border crossings has decreased 33 percent. During the same period, contraband trafficking has decreased as well; while over 1.5 million contraband cigarettes were seized on the border in 2015 and 2016, this year's figures have barely reached half a million.

According to Saatse Border Guard Station director Arvi Suvi, many contraband traffickers have understood that such activity isn't worth it anymore, as the chances of getting caught are high.

"Border guards are very unpredictable with their tactics," he explained. "Checks are more intensive, and all units and cooperatioiin partners are working toward the same goal. Our neighbor is likewise placing a greater emphasis on border security."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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