Foreign cigarettes worth Rs. 8 cr seized in Vijayawada

The commissioner of Customs commissionerate (preventive), Vijayawada, K. Engineer said they received information that foreign cigarettes were being smuggled into Vijayawada city in lorries. They stepped up surveillance and intercepted lorries with Tamil Nadu registration numbers at Kesarapalli along the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam National Highway.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  31 Aug 2022 2:45 AM GMT
Foreign cigarettes worth Rs. 8 cr seized in Vijayawada

Vijayawada: The officials of the Customs commissionerate (preventive), Vijayawada, busted a foreign cigarette smuggling racket on 30 August and seized 804 packets of Paris brand cigarettes worth Rs. 8 crores. The cigarettes were being transported in two lorries.

The commissioner of Customs commissionerate (preventive), Vijayawada, K. Engineer said they received information that foreign cigarettes were being smuggled into Vijayawada city in lorries. They stepped up surveillance and intercepted lorries with Tamil Nadu registration numbers at Kesarapalli along the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam National Highway.

Upon receiving information about similar modus operation, another team proceeded to the Vijayawada-Hyderabad road and intercepted a lorry with Bihar registration.

During inspection, it was found that both vehicles were loaded with 134 high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sacks containing smuggled goods. On questioning, the drivers of the lorries revealed that the loaded vehicles started from Patna, Bihar, and they drove it to Vijayawada as per the instructions of the booking agent. They said they were unaware of the cigarettes.

Search of the intercepted lorries resulted in seizure of 80,40,000 Paris brand cigarettes packed in 804 cartons. The total value of the seized cigarettes is Rs. 8 crores. This is the highest seizure of smuggled foreign cigarettes reported by the Customs commissionerate (preventive), Vijayawada, since its formation in 2014.

It may be recalled that on 3 August, the sleuths of the Customs commissionerate (preventive), Vijayawada, had seized foreign brand cigarettes worth Rs. 3.45 crore concealed in a container truck.

Smuggling foreign cigarettes is a lucrative business for black marketers who make a huge profit as they avoid Customs duty. Smuggled cigarettes don't have pictorial warnings on them which is mandatory as per the provisions of Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisements and regulations of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act 2003.

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