Nearly 5 mln illicit cigarettes seized at Latvia port

Customs officers at Latvia’s northwestern port of Ventspils have seized nearly 5 million illicit cigarettes, the country’s tax authority said Thursday.

While inspecting motor vehicles at the port on Wednesday, customs officers turned their attention to a truck, which according to documents, was transporting bathroom tiles from Latvia to Sweden.

An in-depth examination of the cargo, which included scanning, revealed that the 294 cardboard boxes inside the vehicle contained contraband cigarettes. Instead of the bathroom tiles mentioned in the documents, the customs officers found 4,740,000 Winston Blue cigarettes without excise stamps.

According to preliminary estimates, the total amount that should have been paid for the cigarettes is more than 888,000 euros (about 989,000 U.S. dollars), the tax authority said.

The tax and customs police have launched a criminal investigation.