Lithuanian border scanner fails after uncovering smuggled cigarettes worth millions

50 kilometres from the Raigardas border crossing, there operates the Grodno cigarette factory. The border crossing has been popular among smugglers seeking to bring cigarettes illegally into Lithuania and the EU. This is the place, where an X-ray machine used for making large finds of illegal goods has failed, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports.
The Lithuanian Customs Department spoke of the technical fault. «Raigardas’ mobile X-ray system is eight years old, while its life cycle is up to 10 years. Naturally, an old gadget can have malfunctions, and we happened to have one,» said Vitas Volungevičius, a representative of the Customs Department.
The checkpoint is located some 50 kilometres away from a cigarette factory in Grodno, Belarus and is a popular passing point among smugglers. It has relied on its scanner to monitor trucks crossing into Lithuania and detect illicit cigarettes. In July this year, Raigardas border guards found two cigarette cargos worth two million euros each.
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According to Volungevičius, checks continue at the border despite the broken system. «We inspect trucks manually and, if necessary, take them to the other checkpoints for inspection,» he said.
The X-ray system at Kena railway station on the border with Belarus is also broken and is only expected to be fixed in 2022. Lithuania has requested 54 million euros from the European Union to update all X-ray systems at the country’s border by 2028, Volungevičius said.
The article originally appeared on LRT English: