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Romania: Behind the Smugglers' Smokescreen

February 10, 2014

Cigarette smuggling leaves a dent of ten billion euros in the budgets of EU member states. The trafficking is especially rife on the EU's outer borders.

Europa bei Nacht
Image: NASA
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

In scarcely any region in the world are cigarettes as cheap as they are in Eastern Europe. Because that's been the case for years, a veritable smugglers' paradise has developed. So every night, Romanian customs officials lie in wait with thermal imaging cameras on the border to Ukraine. But it's not just the customs officials who are getting more professional; so are the smugglers. They even use hang gliders to fly tons of cigarettes to the European Union.