Lithuania busts biggest smuggled cigarette shipment in 20 years

  • 2023-01-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The biggest shipment of smuggled cigarettes in 20 years has been seized by Lithuania's State Border Guard Service, valued at more than 2.6 million euros.

A record amount of illegal Belarusian cigarettes - 672,000 cigarette packs - was seized in Paneriai, Vilnius, in late December. The shipment was disguised using 66 tons of sunflower pellets.

"This is the biggest shipment of smuggled goods border guards have intercepted since 2000," the service said.

On December 29, border guards checked three wagons of a freight train at the Paneriai railway station in Vilnius after it arrived from Belarus. Border guards suspected that the wagons might contain smuggled goods and subsequently found hidden boxes of cigarettes.

In 2022, Lithuanian border guards prevented 4,322,114 packs of cigarettes from entering the black market, and the vast majority of them came from Belarus. It was the largest annual amount of smuggled cigarettes intercepted by the SBGS in more than two decades.