Customs officials at Sarp, a Turkish border crossing with Georgia, seized 627,500 packs of smuggled cigarettes in a truck Tuesday.
Acting on a tip-off that a large shipment of smuggled cigarettes would cross into Turkey from Georgia, authorities stopped a truck which claimed it was carrying glass. A search of the truck found cigarettes worth about TL 6.5 million. Two suspects were detained in connection with the smuggling, security sources said.
Cigarette smuggling in the country has increased after Turkey stepped up anti-smoking measures, including a comprehensive indoors smoking ban introduced in 2009 and higher taxes for tobacco products. According to official figures, Turkey confiscated 15.7 million packages of contraband cigarettes in 2018 in operations against smugglers. However, hitting 21 percent in 2014, the rate of illegal tobacco in the country recorded a gradual decline over the past few years and fell to 5.8 percent in 2018.
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