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Cape Town - Illegal cigarettes worth more than R1 million were confiscated during a covert operation on Tuesday.

The city’s Special Investigations Unit and the SAPS Border Integrity Intelligence Unit swooped on a truck carrying illegal cigarettes worth R1.2m on Tuesday.

The move came after a few days of surveillance on a Paarden Eiland premises.

Illegal cigarettes do not enter the country by following the proper process. And some do not adhere to local health standards and have much higher nicotine contents.

Each year, millions of rand worth of illegal cigarettes are found by law enforcement authorities.

Officers spotted a two-ton truck leaving the premises. Soon afterwards, the truck was found to be carrying the cigarettes. After a count. officers determined 880 000 cigarettes were being transported.

The cigarette packs, of a well-known brand, were stored in several plain brown boxes. The driver and passenger were arrested and detained at Maitland police station.

Authorities deem cigarettes as illegal when they are not vetted by Sars and customs. All legitimate cigarettes have a small watermark on the side of packet.

Cape Argus