Nine persons remanded in custody. According to prosecutors, in the past two months alone the members of the smuggling ring brought into Romania cigarettes worth over EUR 500,000.
Nine persons were remanded in custody for 24 hours following the raids that took place yesterday morning and that sought to dismantle an organized crime group specialized in cigarette smuggling. “The ring was coordinated by phone and financed by a Romanian living in Spain,” Radu Lungu, spokesperson of IJPF Maramures, stated for Mediafax.
According to him, the crime ring had over 40 members, both Romanians and Ukrainians. The ring targeted by police raids trafficked cigarettes worth over EUR 500,000 in the past two months. “It’s a large operation conducted by the Maramures County’s Border Police and coordinated by Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) prosecutors. The organized crime group was smuggling cigarettes in the mountain region of the County, the cigarettes being smuggled at an altitude of over 1,700 meters. In the past two months the group smuggled 500 boxes of cigarettes worth over EUR 500,000 from Ukraine. The group was kept under surveillance and we moved in on Monday (yesterday – editor’s note). We were backed by a helicopter from the Special Aviation Unit,” Lungu added. He pointed out that during the raids police officers had to use their guns, firing several warning shots in order to apprehend several persons caught smuggling cigarettes. “In the morning a Border Police unit intercepted a group of persons carrying boxes of cigarettes. Since they refused to stop the police officers fired five warning shots. The three persons ran away and abandoned the cigarettes. The three persons’ homes are searched and police officers are working to apprehend them,” the spokesperson of IJPF Maramures stated. Sources quoted by Mediafax claim that police officers found several hunting rifles during their searches.
BUCHAREST POLICEMAN DETAINED FOR CIGARETTE SMUGGLING IN BUZAU
A police officer from Bucharest was detained on Sunday after he was caught transporting approximately 23,000 cigarettes whose origin was the Republic of Moldova. Investigators have discovered that the man was obtaining the cigarettes in Bucharest and Galati, was storing them at his mother’s house and was then selling them through middlemen in Buzau County. The police officer, his mother and the two middlemen are suspected of smuggling cigarettes in 2010-2011. Shortly after the man was detained police officers from the Buzau County’s Fraud Investigation Office conducted nine home and vehicle searches, confiscating over 86,000 cigarettes from the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as approximately RON 4,400, money that may have come from the illegal sale of cigarettes.
Later on yesterday, the policeman resigned from office. He will never be able to work as a police officer. The 30 – years old man has graduated from the Police Academy in 2004 and has been working ever since at the Bucharest 22 Precinct.