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Hang Glider From Moldova Smuggles Cigarettes Into Romania

Romanian border police say they have confiscated thousands of packs of cigarettes that apparently were dropped in a field from a powered hang glider near the border with Moldova.

Romania’s Interior Ministry said on July 25 that police discovered 10 boxes containing 5,000 packets of Chinese-produced Ashima cigarettes.

Police say they were patrolling the area with heat-detecting equipment when they spotted the glider flying into northeast Romania early on July 24 and returning to Moldova.

Romanian and Moldovan authorities were both investigating the case on July 25.

A marketing research company said earlier in July that more than half of all cigarettes in Romania's poor northeast are contraband -- mainly from Moldova, Ukraine, and Serbia.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project says gliders are a typical way that organized criminal groups from Ukraine smuggle billions of cheap, untaxed cigarettes into the European Union.

Based on reporting by AP and OCCRP