Monthly Archives: January 2013

Investigators Seize More Than 600 Cases of Counterfeit Cigarettes in Brooklyn

From: Brooklyn News Corp

KCDA  today announced the arrest of Yin Haun Zhao, charged with running a counterfeit cigarette ring that netted millions of dollars and deprived the city and state of millions in tax revenue.

As unhealthy as smoking is, smoking counterfeit and bootleg cigarettes is even worse, because there is no way of knowing what chemicals they contain,” said DA Hynes. “Selling this poison is also a drain on the state and city economy, because these cigarettes are entirely untaxed.”

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Virginia looks to stiffen laws on cigarette smuggling

From: Associated Press

RICHMOND — Lawmakers are aiming to impose harsher penalties on cigarette traffickers in Virginia, where officials say low excise taxes have made it an attractive base for smugglers who can sell smokes on the black market in nearby states and funnel the profits to organized crime.

Virginia is home to the country’s second-lowest excise tax at $3 a carton.

That means smugglers can easily buy hundreds or even thousands of cartons and resell them in the Northeast, undercutting retailers and skirting the higher taxes imposed there to boost public revenues and curb smoking rates. New York City, for example, taxes cartons at $58.50 apiece — nearly $6 a pack. Just a short drive away in Washington, the tax is $25 a carton.

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Virginia State Crime Commission: “counterfeit cigarettes present a serious public health risk.”

Editor’s Note:  The Virginia State Crime Commission report “Illegal Cigarette Trafficking” is attached here.

From the report:

To achieve lower costs, traffickers can arrange for their cigarettes to be manufactured overseas. Frequently, these cigarettes are counterfeits. The packaging used in popular brands of cigarettes is duplicated; however, the cigarettes inside will differ substantially from the genuine articles. A number of recent studies have reported that the manufacturing facilities used in the production of counterfeit cigarettes have little or no quality control; the counterfeit cigarettes, in turn, have alarmingly high levels of contaminants, including dangerous levels of toxic metals. In short, counterfeit cigarettes present a serious public health risk.

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Va. Lawmakers Take Aim at Cigarette Trafficking

From: Associated Press

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM AP Tobacco Writer

Lawmakers are aiming to impose harsher penalties on cigarette traffickers in Virginia, where officials say low excise taxes have made it an attractive base for smugglers who can sell smokes on the black market in nearby states and funnel the profits to organized crime.

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Study: RI No. 5 in US for cigarette smuggling

From: WPRI.com  Eyewitness News

High tax rate contributes to illegal sales

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nearly 40% of the cigarettes sold in Rhode Island are illegally smuggled in from other states,  according to a report released by the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

At 39.8%, the report ranked Rhode Island fifth in the country for smuggling rates in 2011, behind only Washington, New Mexico, Arizona and New York, which tops the list at 60.9%. The Ocean State ranked first in smuggling in 2006.

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