On Tuesday, the Vijayawada Customs Commissionerate (Preventive) agents confiscated 80,40,000 cigarettes under the Paris brand, which were estimated to be worth Rs 8 crore. 804 cartons of cigarettes were boxed. After learning about the importation of cigarettes with foreign brands into Vijayawada, the officials stopped two lorries with registration numbers from Tamil Nadu and Bihar. On NH-16 near Kesarapalli, the truck with a Tamil Nadu registration was stopped, while on the Vijayawada-Hyderabad highway, the truck with a Bihar registration was stopped.
Upon inspection, it was discovered that each of the two cars was hauling 134 high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sacks that were sewed shut at the top with contraband. When questioned, the drivers admitted that they had driven the cars from Patna, Bihar, to Vijayawada on the orders of a booking agent. They claimed that they were unaware of what the packages that were ordered for delivery contained.
Under the Customs Act of 1962, 80,40,000 cigarettes of the Paris brand and packed in 804 cartons were found when the intercepted lorries were searched. The cigarettes have a total estimated worth of nearly Rs 8 crore. Since the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Vijayawada was established in 2014, this is the agency’s highest-ever documented seizure of illegally imported cigarettes.