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Ukraine dismantles hi-tech contraband ring that used drones for smuggling cigarettes and monitoring border patrols

Ukrainian border guards successfully apprehended a smuggling group from Volyn that employed drones for contraband smuggling and border patrol surveillance.
Equipment confiscated from Volyn smugglers. Screenshot: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine
Ukraine dismantles hi-tech contraband ring that used drones for smuggling cigarettes and monitoring border patrols

Ukraine’s Border Guard Service (DPSU) reports that a group of northwestern Ukrainian smugglers have adopted drones for contraband transportation and border monitoring, signifying a substantial shift in their strategies. A joint task force, including military personnel and special forces, seized drones, counterfeit tobacco, and production equipment.

“A technological breakthrough was made by Volyn Oblast smugglers. They used UAVs not only to send cigarettes abroad, but also to monitor the actions of border patrols,” the Border Service says.

The smuggler ring was busted by a joint task force, including Volyn and Lviv border guards supported by the Border Guard’s Dozor special task force. The report does not explicitly state that the smugglers were detained but implies it.

In suspects’ homes and outbuildings, the law enforcers reportedly found a hang glider, eight unmanned aerial vehicles of both airplane and quadcopter types, more than 2,000 packs of counterfeit tobacco products, and “draft records with evidence of illegal activity.”

Moreover, the border guards say they have discovered an entire production facility for drones, equipped with a line of 3D printers used to manufacture drone components.

The seized drones are set to be transferred to units of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (DPSU) operating within the Ukraine Defense Forces on the frontlines. Authorities are also exploring the possibility of utilizing the skills of individuals involved in illegal activities to counteract enemy forces.

Ukrainian border guards captured four UAVs used to smuggle cigarettes into Poland

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