Turkish customs authorities seize cigarette filters over signal filed by Bulgarian colleagues


2010-07-29

Responding to a signal sent by Bulgarian customs administration, Turkish customs officers seized huge amount of empty cigarette filters. The 11 million filters were found in truck with Bulgarian registration at the Hamzabeyli-Lesovo border checkpoint.
The freight vehicle, driven by a Bulgarian national, has passed through several European countries, including Bulgaria, and has been followed by customs authorities during the entire route and there was information exchange on the case under the SECI Center.
During the exit customs check-up, officers at Lesovo border checkpoint ascertained there are no discrepancies between real shipment and information stated in the documents - raw materials for cigarettes (filters).
Cigarette filters are considered a risky good, so Bulgarian customs officers alarmed Turkish colleagues over the upcoming shipment.
When the truck arrived at the Turkish checkpoint, the driver said he was driving an empty trailer and tried to convince Turkish customs officers that Bulgarian authorities are sealing empty trailers, too.
Turkish customs officers made a thorough check-up and found the filters, divided into 54,290 boxes. The driver has been detained and investigation is underway.
This is the second case of such smuggling over the last days. Last week, another TIR truck with Bulgarian registration was detained at Hamzabeyli border checkpoint, transporting 13.3 million empty cigarette filters. In this case, the driver tried to change the documents on the shipment.
Bulgarian and Turkish customs administration are cooperating actively in the fight against illegal trade, smuggling, drug traffic and traffic of other dangerous substances.
In the beginning of the year Sofia hosted an official meeting between the managements of the Bulgarian and Turkish customs, while in June director of the Bulgarian National Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, visited Turkish Kapikule border checkpoint.