African Diplomat’s Wife Accused of Smuggling

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 4:20 am (UTC-5)
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The wife of a diplomat from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is stationed in Serbia, has been arrested on suspicion of cigarette smuggling.

Esther Pascaline Bombeto was arrested by Romanian police after crossing into Romania from Serbia.

Romanian police said they found at least 18,000 cigarette packages concealed in the car. A police spokesman said Bombeto used a diplomatic passport to avoid customs controls while crossing into Romania once or twice a week. Officials said police had to break the car's windows to conduct the search after Bombeto claimed diplomatic immunity.

Bombeto's husband, Marc Marius Itela Elombola, second counselor of the Republic of Congo's Embassy in Belgrade, has also been charged with smuggling. He is currently in Serbia. Several Romanians are also suspected of belonging to the smuggling ring.