CUSTOMS TURNS UP HEAT ON TOBACCO SMUGGLING
U.S. Customs said it’s increasing its efforts to target tobacco smuggling.
“Organized cigarette smuggling generates billions of dollars of profit for criminal organizations around the world,” the agency said. “Many states are experiencing losses of revenue from cigarette smuggling.”
Customs said cigarette smuggling is often intended to avoid paying taxes and tariffs levied by various national, state/provincial or local governments. For some countries, these taxes generate significant revenue for government coffers
In the 1990s, Customs and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police successfully pursued cigarette smuggling operations in the United States that caused the Canadian government to lose significant amounts of revenue.
“Various organized criminal groups brought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Canadian cigarettes to the United States, sometimes legally and illegally, and ultimately smuggled them back into Canada,” Customs said. “Smugglers violated U.S. import and export laws and laundered millions of dollars in proceeds through U.S. financial institutions.”
Customs is asking shippers and carriers to help it stop cigarette smugglers. Report smuggling activities to Customs by e-mail at email@example.com.