Black Market Cigarettes a ‘Significant Threat’ Funding Terrorism and Other Criminal Enterprises
From: PJ Media
By Karl Herchenroeder
WASHINGTON – Though the illicit cigarette trade may seem petty in nature, perpetrators largely use the proceeds to fund more dangerous activities involving narcotics, wildlife smuggling, blood diamonds and terrorist attacks, according to experts.
Louise Shelley, a transnational crime scholar at George Mason University, told the Helsinki Commission on Wednesday that one of the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the 2015 Charlie Hebdo mass shooting in Paris, was collecting income from illicit tobacco sales. She also cited a recent case in the Czech Republic, where officials uncovered a group engaged in the illicit trade of cigarettes and rhino horns from South Africa. Finally, she said that during a visit to the country of Georgia more than a decade ago she found that illicit tobacco sales fund subversive efforts in Iraq.