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Sausage Smuggler Rumbled by Customs at Russian-Finnish Border

A St. Petersburg man is facing a fine after trying to smuggle food items banned from sale in Russia into the country from Finland in the spare tire of his car, customs officials said Thursday.

Packages of meat, fish and dairy products were discovered under the car's hood, in the trunk and stuffed into the car's spare tire during a vehicle inspection at the Russian-Finnish border, the northwest branch of the Federal Customs Service said in an online statement.

The statement was accompanied by photos showing packets of sausages crammed into the spare tire, boxes packed under the car hood and jars of caviar that had also apparently been secreted around the car.

In all, customs officials unearthed 33 packages of meat weighing 21.5 kilograms, 13 packages of seafood weighing 8 kilograms, and 11 packages of dairy products weighing 33.5 kilograms, the report said.

A sweeping food ban enacted by Russia in response to Western sanctions against Moscow over its role in the Ukraine conflict outlaws imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from the European Union, the United States and several other countries.

The banned food items can be brought into Russia for personal consumption, but the quantities discovered in the man's car apparently raised suspicions among the customs officials that he planned to sell them on.

The inventive driver has been charged with failing to comply with the ban on Western food imports and failing to declare imported goods, the customs officers said in their statement.

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