PHOTO/ Moldovan Cigarette Smuggling Operation Stubbed Out

PHOTO/ Moldovan Cigarette Smuggling Operation Stubbed Out
21 July 2020 | 16:31

According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the prosecutors together with employees from the Intelligence and Security Service carried out searches at a warehouse, in a district close to the Romanian border. Following the criminal investigation, the prosecutors identified 1,155 boxes with 577,500 packs of Ashima cigarettes without an excise stamp. According to prosecutors, the estimated value of tobacco goods is around 500,000 euros. Before the prosecutors announced the search, a reserve officer wrote about cigarette smuggling at the Moldovan border with the involvement of high-ranking officials.

On July 20, the Office of the Prosecutor General announced about searches carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) and the Intelligence and Security Service in a criminal smuggling case. 

The Office of the Prosecutor General announces that 570 boxes were found in the warehouse, which contained 285,000 packs of cigarettes, and another 585 boxes with 292,500 packs of cigarettes were found in three minibusses, with Romanian registration numbers, which were in the same warehouse. 

In total, the prosecutors found 1,155 boxes, containing 577,500 packs of Ashima cigarettes without an excise stamp. On the black market, the price of the 577,500 packs of cigarettes would be about 500,000 euros. 

“The item detected in the minibusses, which were equipped to hide the goods, but also the evidence accumulated on the case indicates that the perpetrators were preparing to infringe the law by smuggling cigarettes without excise stamp, to the states of the European Union. 

All tobacco goods mean of transport, and money has been seized and is in the custody of law enforcement. The tobacco goods will be submitted to the legal procedures for establishing the origin, the quality, and the exact evaluation of the goods,” announces the Office of the Prosecutor General.

According to law enforcement officers, four Moldovan citizens were found in the warehouse. They were searched. As a result, money was seized in a total amount of approximately 11,000 euros.

On the same day, the four Moldovan citizens were detained for 72 hours. The criminal investigation is in full swing. The prosecutors intend to request in court the application of the preventive measure – the arrest of the four persons.

According to the criminal law, the crime of smuggling in particularly large proportions is punishable by imprisonment from three to ten years, and the person is punished with a fine amounting to 15,000 to 26,000 euros (300,000 to 550,000 lei), with deprivation of the right to exercise a certain activity or with the liquidation of the company. 

Before the Office of the Prosecutor General announced the respective searches at the border with Romania, reserve officer Gheorghe Petic, wrote about cigarette smuggling at the Moldovan border with the involvement of high-ranking officials, wrote on his Facebook page.

Last night, the employees of the Intelligence and Security Service detained a truck loaded with ASIMA cigarettes at the base of a businessman from Ungheni. Later, the truck loaded with ASIMA cigarettes was taken to Chișinău in eight minibusses. It feels like Alexandru Jizdan ( ed. note former Minister of Internal Affairs, during the Government led by Democratic Party Prime Minister, Pavel Filip) is again in Ungheni. President Igor Dodon said no more schemes. No, of course,” wrote Petic.

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