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Germany

Customs Find Record Smuggled Smokes

Hamburg customs agents confiscated a record 216 million cigarettes, the biggest lot of black market cigarettes ever to be found smuggled into Europe in one operation, they said on Wednesday. At Hamburg's harbor on Tuesday, agents discovered 171 million cigarettes in 19 containers from China that were filled with shoes and textiles destined for France, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands. The agency said the fake brand cigarettes were worth 30 million euros ($38 million) on the black market and would have cost Germany 50 million euros in lost taxes. German customs had been tracking the smugglers since March and had already found five containers with cigarettes in April and later arrested numerous suspects, including three Hungarians, two Germans, an Austrian and a Belgian.

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