More air passengers caught attempting to smuggle cigarettes into Malta

Over the weekend and early Monday morning, Customs officials seized over 30,940 contraband cigarettes

The contraband cigarettes were found inside the passenger's hand luggage
The contraband cigarettes were found inside the passenger's hand luggage

The Customs Department has intensified its fight against the smuggling of cigarettes, with the searches yielding more results and individuals referred to the authorities.

Following the seizure of 7,400 contraband cigarettes on Friday and some 4,540 more during the weekend, a third find was made during the early hours of Monday morning.

While on duty at Malta’s international airport, officers from the Enforcement Unit stopped a Russian passenger for a luggage scan, after exiting the ‘Nothing to Declare’ channel.

The passenger had just arrived from Riga, Latvia.

The scan request was made by an officer who noticed something suspicious about the luggage, the Customs said in a statement. The officer, before opening the luggage, proceeded to confirm with the passenger that the luggage was indeed his, and the passenger confirmed.

On opening the luggage, the officer found that the contents of the luggage were solely 70 NZ American Blend cartons and 250 loose NZ American Blend packets, amounting to a total of 19,000 cigarettes. 

 The case has been referred to the Police.

A similar find was also made during a scan of luggage in transit, intended to Spain. The luggage arrived in Malta on two separate flights. Customs authorities in Spain were immediately alerted and the passengers in question were apprehended in Spain upon their arrival.

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