Customs agents in the Northern Marianas have seized more than 2,000 cartons of smuggled cigarettes, the largest haul of its kind in recent history.
The goods discovered yesterday were mostly hidden beneath potato chips or crackers in boxes shipped from the Philippines and were consigned to a wholesaler on Saipan.
Customs agents say the volume could further increase as officials were still inspecting the contents of the 20-foot container at the seaport.
Most of the undeclared cigarettes were Philippine-made Philip Morris and Marlboro.
Customs officials say if the contraband had not been intercepted, the CNMI government would have lost at least 40,000 US dollars in tax.