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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Caught In Tobacco Fracas


Several Italian newspapers carried reports Wednesday that four fishing boats near the island of Stromboli, off Sicily's northern coast, forced a Russian trawler to stop this week and demanded astonished crewmen hand over their cigarettes, Reuters said.

A strike by Italian tobacco-industry workers last month has paralyzed the nation's cigarette distribution system and sent the price of contraband foreign brands rocketing.

The dispute has been a heaven-sent opportunity for peddlars of smuggled cigarettes who have found increasingly ingenious ways of trying to avoid police checks.

Highway police found 90 kilograms of smuggled cigarettes in a coffin when they stopped a hearse to check for contraband, officials said Wednesday.