Illegal traders have found an unlikely ally in empty state coffers as the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) is in many cases unable to go ahead with the confiscation of illegal fuel or cigarettes. With state warehouses and customs facilities full, SDOE cannot afford to lease the space required to store the goods or proceed with their destruction.

As a result of this and the fact that the economic crisis has led to increased black market activities, smuggling has been thriving in the last few months.

In just the first 10 days of January, the squad confiscated 23.2 million contraband cigarettes, and SDOE has already sent a memorandum to the central agency of the Finance Ministry asking for additional funds to do its job.