190 cigarette cartons seized Austrian customs successful in the fight against contraband cigarettes

On 7 November 2017, officers from the Austrian Customs Service in Heiligenkreuz and Schachendorf succeeded in removing 190 cartons of cigarettes from circulation in the truest sense of the word.

The officers were checking a Ukrainian driver whom they had stopped while on the move on the Southern Expressway near Loipersdorf in Burgenland, travelling in the direction of Graz.

During the course of their intensive check, a total of 38,000 cigarettes were found in the entire vehicle – hidden in the rear side panels of the vehicle as well as in three specially-designed hiding places made for the purpose of cigarette smuggling. The underside of the rear seating, as well as the spare wheel stowage space, had been prepared accordingly; the boot space too had a double floor. Furthermore, the fuel tank had been replaced by a smaller tank having a maximum capacity of 20 litres. The smuggled cigarettes, bearing Ukrainian revenue stamps, had been purchased by the driver in his country of departure, Poland. His destination was said to be Italy; however, Austrian customs officers put an end to his smuggling trip.

The driver was arrested, and received a monetary fine of EUR 3,500.00. The cigarettes and the car were confiscated.

"Smuggling and receiving stolen tobacco products are not trivial offences!" affirms Stefan Fleischhacker, head of the Eisenstadt Customs Office at Vienna Airport, justifiably proud of his team's recent success. "The daily battle by customs against cigarette smuggling is indispensable – for Austria as an economic centre, for taxpayers, and not least for the sake of our health!"