Almost 39,000 packs of contraband foreign cigarettes of various brands have been seized from a canal-side on the Cambodian border in Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo.
They were found in 49 sacks discovered by excise officials, border patrol police and soldiers from the Burapha task force alongside a canal behind Phan Suek border village on Wednesday.
There was nobody nearby to lay claim to the 38,950 packs of cigarettes, which were in parcels with the names of the intended receivers.
There were 3,500 packets of IZA cigarettes, 18,630 packets of Gold Seal, 3,000 packets of Lapin, 1,000 packets of Fine, 11,320 packets of Luxury, 500 packets of Cowboy and 1,000 packets of Ara.
The untaxed cigarettes were valued at 3.5 million baht, and excise tax due at 2.4 million baht. The fine to be levied totalled 36.69 million baht, according to the Sa Kaew excise office Aranyaprathet branch.
Sa Kaeo excise chief Sudjai Khonthat said they had received information that a shipment of cigarettes would be smuggled from Cambodia using a natural border crossing. Excise officials were joined by soldiers and police in patrolling the area where the contraband was expected to arrive.
Their efforts were rewarded with the largest seizure of contraband foreign cigarettes made in the province.
He believed they were purchased online. The parcels containing the cigarettes were packed in Cambodia and were ready for delivery, he said.
The investigation would be extended, he said.
(Photo: Sa Kaeo excise office, Aranyaprathet branch Facebook page)