Lietuva in brief - 2007-12-19

  • 2007-12-19
Officers of the Criminal Police Bureau have stopped a cargo truck that was being used to smuggle 14 kilograms of marijuana from the Netherlands, the Police Department announced on Dec. 18. According to the report, the street value of the drugs was approximately 560,000 litas (162,000 euros). The narcotic substance was found in 27 one-liter bottles that were dipped in the fuel tank of a Citroen car. The vehicle was being carried by the Lithuanian-owned Mercedes-Benz truck, which was pulled over for examination on Dec. 16. The following day, the police apprehended a person suspected of organizing the drug smuggling ring. The 35-year-old suspect has a criminal record.

Lithuanians willing to quit smoking can compete for the title of European Non-Smoker 2008, which comes with a 15,000 euro prize, the Kaunas Youth Narcological Support Center said. Organized by the European Commission and a network that provides assistance to those trying to kick the habit, the project has been joined by 12 countries including Lithuania. Those wanting to participate in the project will have to register on a Web site by Jan. 31, 2008 and quit tobacco by July 31. The project participants whose stories of how they gave up the habit are found most inspiring will proceed to the next stage.

The Vilnius city government will have to pay 5,000 litas (1,450 euros) to each of 20 Vilnius Roma whose buildings it torn down two years ago. Vilnius Regional Administrative Court made the decision Dec. 18 after reviewing a complaint filed by the Roma regarding compensation of property and non-property damage caused to them by illegitimate acts carried out by Vilnius city officials. The court ruled that city employees violated the common procedure for demolishing buildings and administered actions that are not attributed to their competence by law.

Officers of the Vilnius branch of the Financial Crime Investigation Service have detained a Lithuanian citizen who defrauded a U.S. company out of almost $500,000 (360,000 euros) worth of property. According to preliminary investigation data, the suspect presented forged documentation to the U.S. company, which transferred money to his account in a Lithuanian commercial bank for commodities he had allegedly supplied to the firm. The suspect spent most of the money for his personal needs. He was arrested during an operation organized by the Vilnius division of the Financial Crime Investigation Service on Dec. 10.

Portuguese soldiers handed over command of the NATO-sanctioned Baltic air-policing mission to their Norwegian counterparts on Dec. 14. The exchange took place in a ceremony at the Lithuanian Air Force base in Zokniai. Up to 60 soldiers will serve in the Norwegian contingent, guarding Baltic air space with the help of four U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft, the National Defense Ministry announced. In three months, the mission is to be taken over from the Norwegians by the Poles.