A Lithuanian self-made drone detained in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region last week was used for smuggling cigarettes into Russia, Oleg Dzhurayev, the press service chief of the Kaliningrad border department of the Russian Federal Security service, told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday. A Russian-Lithuanian criminal group used the self-made drone aircraft for illegally smuggling cigarettes across the Lithuanian border into Russia.
Russian border guards near Kaliningrad “detained” a low-flying drone entering the country from Lithuania last week. According to a spokesperson for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), it wasn’t on a spy mission—it was smuggling cigarettes. The autonomous aircraft, which had a four-meter (13-foot) wingspan, flew close to the ground following GPS waypoints and released cigarette cartons from its cargo bay at designated drop zones. When captured, it was carrying 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of illicit cargo. FSB press service chief Oleg Dzhurayev told the ITAR-TASS news service that the drone was built by a criminal organization operating in Russia and Lithuania, and it may have been used for other smuggling operations. This is the first time Russian authorities have captured a foreign drone in the Kaliningrad region, a Russian “exclave” between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea.