Massive Arrests in Romanian Border Police

Massive special ops troops were deployed to make the arrest (Photo: Adevărul)

Almost 80 border police officers and customs workers were arrested early on Thursday, following a long secret inquest conducted by anti-corruption investigators, informs Antena 3. According to police sources, the officers and workers involved managed to squeeze bribes of around 50.000 Euros every day from Moldovan and Ukrainian cigarette smugglers.

The police and customs workers from Siret, in North-Eastern Romania, were taken with the help of almost 100 troops from the special forces unit and taken to Bucharest. On Thursday evening, the anti-corruption prosecutors began to interogate the suspects and on Friday morning they will decide on whether to go to court to ask for arrest warrants.

Police union representatives claim that the ramifications of the corrupt police and customs network goes very high within the government. “Every time an honest police officer would bust a transport of smuggled cigarettes, instead of being promoted, they would be reprimanded”, revealed Florin Vîlnei, of the Romanian police union.

Cigarette smuggling from Ukraine and from the Republic of Moldova is a widespread phenomenon in Romania and, so far, authorities seem unable to tackle with the issue. Tobbacco companies in Romania estimated losses of about 20 million Euros because of cigarette smuggling in 2005, and the figures have since increased.

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