More than €24 million in damages to the state was prevented by the actions, the Customs Department said.
In 2015, customs officers busted more illegal tobacco shipments than in any year since 1990. Customs officers apprehended 219 million cigarettes (nearly 11 million packs), estimated at €26.5 million, which represents a two-fold increase from the year before.
While previously most tobacco smugglers would be caught crossing the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, the trends changed last year. Lithuanian customs officers last year busted more illegal Belarusian tobacco brought from other countries of the European Union (EU).
Arūnas Adomėnas, director general of the Customs Department, says smuggling routes changed as a result of better controls of the EU’s exterior border and installation of x-ray systems in all checkpoints.