35 million cigarettes seized

2010-06-06 19:15

Sofia - Bulgarian customs officials on Sunday seized a record 35 million cigarettes being smuggled from China into the European Union, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov announced.

The contraband was discovered aboard a ship that was searched at the Black Sea city of Varna in an operation helped by the European Anti-Fraud Office, the minister said.

The cigarettes, made to look like a Spanish brand, were packed in 3 500 boxes on the boat, which had been tracked for three weeks, Djankov said.

The vessel had moved close to the coastline and had on board equipment that allowed it to unload its cargo onto smaller vessels.

Djankov said there had been an increase in international cigarette smuggling since 2008.

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