Lithuania’s Customs Criminal Service uncovered a bold smuggling scheme, detaining four customs officers and seizing 2.5-million-euro worth of cigarettes.
Lithuanian officers say smugglers employed a smart scheme that allowed trucks full of smuggled cigarettes to enter Lithuania by switching vehicles’ registration plates and documents.
In the early morning on September 16, three trucks entered the Raigardas road checkpoint from Belarus one after another, one driven by a Belarusian citizens and the other two by Polish citizens. Two vehicles (DAF trucks) were identical and both declared transporting shipments of cast iron.
Customs officers suspected that a scheme was in play to mask the transportation of smuggled cigarettes in one of the trucks when registration plates and documents would be switched within the checkpoint’s territory as the plates were attached using magnetic holders and easily removable.
All three trucks were stopped and inspected. Belarusian cigarettes NZ Black Slim and Minsk Super Slims were found in one of them. The value of around 1,500 boxes stands at around 2.5 million euros.
A pre-trial investigation was launched, in which the three drivers as well as four customs officers from the Raigardas road checkpoint were detained. The officers are suspected of conspiring with the smugglers and abusing their official position.