More than 41 million smuggled cigarettes seized by the authorities in the first 6 months of 2022
In the first six months of 2022, Romanian authorities seized over 41 million cigarettes, estimated at over 26 million lei (over 5 million euros) on the black market, according to data from www.stopcontrabanda.ro, the only real-time platform centralizing data on cigarettes illicit traffic in Romania.
The cigarettes black market in Romania registered a decrease of approximately 30% compared to the first half of 2021, amid the authorities` efforts to combat illicit trafficking and the smuggling volume decrease at the Northern borders of the country. According to StopContrabanda.ro, in the first 6 months of 2021, over 61 million smuggled cigarettes were seized, about a third more than the volume recorded in the first half of this year. The cigarettes’ black-market remains at a historical level of below 8% in the first half of this year, a relatively constant level from the beginning of the year, according to Novel Research.
Significant seizures at the Southern and Eastern borders of the country
In the first six months of 2022, the largest volume of seized smuggled cigarettes was recorded in three counties: Constanța (over 15 million cigarettes), Vâlcea (over 11 million cigarettes) and Suceava (almost 3 million cigarettes), according to the data centralized on www.stopcontrabanda.ro.
Recently, in June 2022, this year`s three largest seizures of cigarettes were conducted in Constanța, Vâlcea and Călărași, where the authorities captured a total of almost 28 million cigarettes, worth over 18 million lei (over 3.6 million euros). In Constanța alone, more than 15 million smuggled cigarettes were recently seized, worth over 11 million lei (2.2 million euros).
Two illegal factories and record seizures worth 2 million euros, discovered this year
In the first six months of 2022, the authorities also discovered two illegal cigarette factories, in Neamț and Buzău counties, where approximately 21 tons of tobacco were confiscated. The resulting cigarettes manufactured out of the seized tobacco would have been worth over 2 million euros on the black market, according to data centralized on StopContrabanda.ro.
Also, according to the authorities, an increase in the amount of raw tobacco and shisha tobacco illegally introduced on the Romanian market has been registered in the first half of the year. According to ANAF, since the beginning of 2022, over 50 tons of raw tobacco without the necessary documents for transport, processing or marketing have been confiscated. Also, 1,750,000 excise stamps were illegally introduced in Romania at the beginning of the year, which were to be used to mark illicit tobacco products.
About cigarette smuggling in Romania
- Romania has the highest level of cigarette smuggling in Eastern Europe.
- Romania has 2,000 km of border with non-EU countries, where the price of tobacco can be up to six times lower.
- Illegal cigarette trafficking annually prejudices the Romanian state by approximately 2 billion lei, which is the equivalent of 667 km of modernized national roads.
- Each container of illegal cigarettes equals one million euros profit for smuggling networks. Interpol data show that illicit cigarette trafficking is a catalyst for trafficking in drugs, weapons, people and even terrorist activities.