Cigarette smugglers fired up

More than 3 million packets of cigarettes exported from Greece and then illegally smuggled back into the country have been seized at customs checks during the last two months, high-ranking police sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Officers said the practice, which results in millions of euros in lost tax revenues, is becoming more popular with smugglers. The cigarettes are often brought into Greece in the back of trucks but hiding them in shipping containers is also a popular method. The port of Constanta in Romania is one of the hubs of this activity but cigarettes are often smuggled into Greece through Cyprus and Bulgaria as well, sources said. Meanwhile, the Ukranian captain of a ship on which the coast guard found 991,000 packets of cigarettes was remanded in custody in Patras yesterday. The North Korean-flagged Sagittarius was boarded by coast guard officials in the Ionian Sea on Friday. They said the vessel did not have the correct paperwork for its load.