Customs officers have seized millions of cigarettes concealed in false wooden planks, and which were being transported from Russia to Europe.
Customs authorities said in a statement that the cigarettes were found by officers manning the Scanning Unit at the Freeport, following a search on a container which arrived in Malta with a declaration stating it was carrying wooden planks.
When the container was opened, it was found to contain wooden planks, but suspicions were aroused when it was passed throough the scanner. A discrepancy was also noted in the different weights of the planks.
Customs officers accordingly decided to break open one of the planks, in which they found no less than 48 packets of contraband cigarettes.
Following a 36-hour operation, 145,000 packets of cigarettes amounting to a total of 2.9 million cigarettes were recovered. The tax due on these cigarettes is in excess of 670,000 euro.