A truck full of undocumented cigarettes was caught during the run-up to Christmas by Brazilian border police on the outskirts of Curitiba, a city in state of Paraná on the Paraguayan border.
The truck was found carrying 1.05 million packs of cigarettes with an estimated worth of $1.2 million.
The vehicle reportedly came from Guiaira, Paraguay, and the illegal goods were supposed to be delivered to the Port of Santos, Brazil’s largest port. According to the Federal Tax Administration, the drivers presented false documents stating that they were delivering soybeans grown in Paraguay.
Many cigarette manufacturers in Brazil choose to import from Paraguay which has one of the lowest taxes on cigarettes, while Brazil continues to have one of the highest tax rates in the region.
Customs has seized numerous contraband cigarettes in recent months. On December 12, 400 cigarette boxes hidden in bags of flour were seized, while 5 million packs placed in 10 separate trucks were nabbed on December 6.
But perhaps one of the most action-packed raids was on November 24 when a red Ford Ecosport car was used to carry 18,000 packs of cigarettes worth $21,000. The driver led police on some 58-kilometer chase along highway BR-227 until finally stopping in the rural area of Medianeira, where the driver escaped on foot.