Cigarette smuggling cartel busted

  • 2006-05-15
  • By TBT staff
A dramatic chase on the Lithuanian border helped guards crack a large and well-organized cigarette smuggling ring.
The State Border Guard Service said the chase began when two suspicious vehicles failed to stop at a checkpoint in Taurage in the west of Lithuania on May 14.
Guards fired a warning shot then opened fire when one of the vehicles attempted to run down a border official in its escape. The accused smuggler found in a nearby hospital.
The two vehicles were found to contain about 30,000 packs of Russian cigarettes.
The car chase followed months of investigations into the cigarette trafficking operation. A series of searches carried out on May 14 led to the arrest of 12 residents who are suspected of involvement, while 15 Subaru vehicles were found in the garage of a building believed to be used as a base for the smugglers.
Two border guards were also arrested, accused of colluding with the smugglers.