[WATCH] How crafty smugglers hid 3 million contraband cigarettes inside wooden planks

2,900,000 cigarettes were seized by Customs at the Malta Freeport

Nearly three million cigarettes seized by Customs

Nearly three million undeclared cigarettes were seized by Customs at the Malta Freeport. 

Customs said that the cigarettes were in a full load 40-foot container en route from Russia to an EU state. The container was selected for scanning upon arrival in Malta. 

The container was declared to be carrying pallets of wood plank, and it was established that the contents were indeed wood planks. However, after Scanning Unit officials viewed the scanned images, items concealed within the planks were flagged. 

Despite there being nothing suspicious upon physical inspection; the weight discrepancies were noticed between one blank and the other.  It was at this stage officials decided to break open one of the planks and on doing so, 48 packets of contraband cigarettes poured out.

Subsequently, more cigarettes were found concealed within the wood planks. 

After an operation spanning over 36 hours, 145,000 packets of 20 cigarettes each, amounting to 2,900,000 cigarettes were found. The endangered taxes amounted to more than €670,000.

The haul was seized by Customs, pending investigations. OLAF, Europol and authorities of the intended EU state recipient have been informed.

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