Cigarettes (illustration). - Pixabay
An Armenian national has been sentenced to a ten-month suspended prison sentence and must pay more than 82,000 euros in fines for illegal cigarette trafficking, reports Paris Normandie . The defendant, who was on trial at the Dieppe (Seine-Maritime) criminal court, was checked by the flying customs near Saint-Saëns last March with 100 kg of Marlboro brand cigarettes.
While the man was driving a Peugeot 807 with his wife by his side, he was checked on March 4 by customs near Saint-Martin-Osmonville, in the middle of the afternoon. While searching the vehicle, officials found ten cartons containing a total of 500 cartons of cigarettes. During his hearing, he indicated that this was his third trip. Two hundred kilos had already been shipped.
360 tonnes of tobacco seized in 2019
The value of the goods was estimated at 50,000 euros in this case. According to the customs administration, which has brought a civil action, cigarette smuggling is a buoyant market. The package is bought 1.50 euros by fraudsters, a price far below that offered to consumers. In 2019, 360 tonnes of tobacco were seized in France, which would represent five billion tax revenue to the state.
While the administration could have demanded three times the legal value of the goods seized, the court limited itself to 50,000 euros in customs fines, 31,400 euros in tax penalties and 750 euros in fines.
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