RIGA, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Customs officers seized more than nine million illegal cigarettes hidden in a Lithuanian-registered truck which was about to leave Latvia by ferry, the Latvian tax authority said Thursday.
The contraband cigarettes without excise stamps were found this month as customs officers were checking the truck as it was going to board a Sweden-bound ferry at the northwestern Latvian port of Ventspils.
An in-depth examination of the timber cargo carried by the Lithuanian truck revealed elaborately built caches with 9,100,000 cigarettes NZ Gold inside.
The cargo was being sent by a company in Lithuania to a company in Denmark, the tax authority said.
The State Revenue Service said the successful operation helped prevent a loss of some 1.5 million euros (1.67 million U.S. dollars) to the government budget. The Latvian Tax and Customs Police have opened criminal proceedings over large-scale smuggling.