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Police hunt cigarette smugglers

Published:Friday | March 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Police and customs investigators are trying to track down the person or persons behind a shipment of illegal cigarettes valued at $120 million, which was seized near the wharf last weekend.

According to communications director for the Customs Department, Dania Beckford, no duties were paid on the cigarettes and they were not approved by the Jamaica Bureau of Standards for sale in Jamaica.

Destined for St Maartin

Beckford said indications are that the shipment originated in Curacao and was destined for St Maartin.

Acting on information, members of the Custom Department's contraband enforcement team searched premises occupied by a construction company near the wharf just before midnight on Saturday.

The search turned up 75 cases of cigarettes, more than a half-million sticks of the tobacco. Beckford said further investigations led the team to a container with broken seals at Kingston Container Terminal.

A search of the container turned up another 400 boxes of the illegal cigarettes.