An abrupt seizure of an enormous amount of cigarettes worth more than €7 million (US$8.3 million) from Vietnamese furniture crates, on 15 July at the port of Dublin became quite the event which had heads turning.
The seizure happened during a routine inspection of cargo containers on board a vessel by Irish revenue officers.
The seizure was first pursued after the revenue officer with the assistance of detector dog Waffle deemed the containers suspicious during their routing search onboard a container ship that arrived at Dublin from Rotterdam.
Details of the container ship have not been disclosed by the port authorities.
The illicit cargo confiscated consisted of 10.5 million cigarettes branded as 'Blue River'. The official revenue statement read, "Today as a result of routine profiling, Revenue officers at Dublin Port seized 10.5 million cigarettes with an estimated retail value of €7,350,000."
After tagging the containers as suspicious, the boxes were inspected with the help of a mobile X-ray scanner of the revenue department, which finally led to the successful discovery of the illegal cargo hidden as Vietnamese furniture inside the containers.
According to the revenue department, the seizure was part of their recent initiative to target and tackle the shadow economy in Ireland by restricting the flow of drugs, tobacco, and other illicit cargo into the economic chain.
The statement went on to highlight the ongoing investigation regarding the origin of cigarettes, the consignment company of the containers, and the involvement of port authorities in the clearing of the illicit cargo in the containers as furniture, and ultimately the buyer of these products.
This massive seizure of 10.5 million cigarettes has followed the confiscation of cocaine worth €35 million (US$41.3 million) concealed between charcoal inside 2,000 bags packed into cargo containers, by Gardai two days earlier.