ADDIS ABABA – More than 20 suspected smugglers were arrested as customs police seized 513 million birr worth of contraband items in a week-long joint operation.
The amount is more than 371 million birr higher than the total value of the seizures made preceding seven days.
In a statement on Saturday, the Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) said the crackdown against smuggling was conducted between Nov 11 and 17, in collaboration with the regional and federal police.
The Contraband items seized include vehicles, livestock, petrol, clothes, coffee, electronics, cosmetics, weapons, Khat, edible oil, medicines, narcotic drugs, and foreign currencies.
The commission said the majority of them were intercepted while they were being smuggled out of the country, putting their total estimated value at 483.2 million birr.
Concurrently, more than 30 million birr worth of goods have also been also prevented from going out of the country illegally.
The Commission said the checkpoint at the Addis Ababa airport seized the highest of all its customs branches, intercepting 355 million birr worth contrabands.
Dire Dawa and Kaliti also managed to seize the second and third highest contraband items. The two checkpoints captured contraband goods valued at 31.1 million Birr and 29.3 million Birr, respectively.
During the operations, 21 suspects along with 17 vehicles used for smuggling have been captured, according to the Customs Commission.
It’s Officials praised all law enforcement agencies and the public involved in the weeklong operation against illegal trade.
They, however, are still urging all including the public to put their bands on the deck to combat contraband and illicit flow of foreign currency transfer.
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