Bulgarians smuggle cigarettes in coffins
The Bulgarian Customs has dismantled a smuggling circuit of illegal cigarettes for the European market. The Bulgarian smuggling gang was particularly inventive as they used coffins to hide the cigarettes. The value of the duties of the seized goods is estimated at 3 million euro.
Vanio Tanov, head of customs, explains proudly: "The gang also used fake ambulances and vehicles of undertakers to transport the coffins". The cigarettes were produced in Dubai and entered Bulgaria through Greece. Then the cigarettes where transported from Bulgaria to Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
According to the customs are 20 to 30 percent of the cigarettes sold in Bulgaria coming from the illegal market. Bulgaria has 7.4 million inhabitants, nearly 44 percent is smoking according to the Ministry of Health. This is after Greece the second highest rate in Europe.
Recently, more than 170 countries approved an agreement on an international protocol to combat tobacco smuggling. Smuggling represents 10 to 12 percent of the market, and no less than 45 to 50 billion unrecovered dollars.