April 2, 2018

House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “Exploring the Financial Nexus of Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, and Organized Crime”

From: House Financial Services Committee

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 2:00 PM in 2128 Rayburn HOB 
Terrorism and Illicit Finance

Click here for the Committee Memorandum.

Witness List

  • Mr. Joseph Humire, Executive Director, Center for a Secure Free Society (TTF)
  • Mr. Derek Maltz, Executive Director, Government Relations, Pen-Link, Ltd. (TTF)
  • Ms. Celina B. Realuyo, Professor, Practice of National Security Affairs, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, National Defense University (TTF)
  • Dr. Louise Shelley, Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University (TTF)

March 30, 2018

US Customs in Miami seize over six million counterfeit cigarettes

From: American Journal of Transportation


Illegal trafficking in cigarettes generates significant profits for criminal organizations and poses a public health risk. Counterfeit cigarettes not only affect trademark owners, but defraud consumers and deprive the government of tax revenue. Consumers think they pay less for a genuine product, when in reality they pay less for a product of substandard quality.

“International counterfeiters will get caught,” said Agriculture and Prepared Products Center Director Dina M. Amato. “This seizure is the latest example of the extraordinary vigilance of CBP personnel with federal partners in Florida thwarting illegal trafficking of counterfeit cigarettes.”

February 20, 2018

Estonian customs find 4.5 mln illicit cigarettes from truck

From: The Baltic Course

The officials of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board during an inspection of a truck at the port of Paldiski found 4.5 million contraband cigarettes from the vehicle’s load, reports LETA/BNS.

Siim Rudissaar, head of service at the investigative department of the Tax and Customs Board, said that the truck had a Lithuanian license plate and a trailer and arrived to Estonia on February 10 through the Ikla border crossing point and on the same day headed to Paldiski to board a ship to Sweden, spokespeople for the Tax and Customs Board said.

January 29, 2018

Two Indian Citizens and India-based Corporation Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Smuggle Counterfeit Cigarettes

From: Food and Drug Administration/Office of Criminal Investigations & US Department of Justice/Southern District of Florida

January 23, 2019

Abhishek Shukla and Harish Shabhai Panchal, both citizens of India, entered guilty pleas, along with the India-based company, Jubilee Tobacco Industries Corp., to conspiring to smuggle counterfeit cigarettes into the United States.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Peter H. Kuehl, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), Miami Field Office, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO), made the announcement.

January 18, 2018

Crackdown on baby gangs of Naples

From: la Repubblica | Blog


The conditions that de Luzenberger describes are not new. Nor is the involvement of children in criminal activity. Photographs from the beginning of the 1900s onwards show children selling contraband cigarettes, a local “industry” that one smuggler kingpin of the 70s described as being as important to the city of Naples as Fiat was to Turin. But while petty crime among children struggling to survive has always been as common in Campania’s capital city as it was in Dickensian London, the widespread use of minors as drug runners, and in some extreme cases even killers, began in the mid-1990s. With many of its members in jail as a result of government crackdowns, the Camorra began to systematically use children under fourteen, because minors were immune from prosecution.
Kids in the 1940s selling contraband cigarettes
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December 27, 2017

Tobacco smugglers targeted by Cuomo’s ‘Cigarette Strike Force,’ more than $6 million in contraband seized

From: North Country Now

New York State’s “Cigarette Strike Force” seized $6.6 million worth of contraband tobacco so far this year, a $1 million increase compared with last year’s total, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Untaxed cigars made up the bulk of these confiscations, according to the governor’s office. Investigators seized more than 1.5 million illegal cigars so far this year compared with 260,000 last year, a 476 percent increase. More than 47,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes have been seized along with 134,000 counterfeit tax stamps and nearly $445,000 in cash, Cuomo’s office said.

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November 30, 2017

Illegal cigarettes sold at pocket money prices to children in Leeds seized

From: LeedsLive

More than quarter of a million illegal cigarettes have been taken off the streets

By Andy Hirst & Laura Hill

Illegal cigarettes being sold at pocket money prices to children were seized during raids in Leeds.

Police took more than a quarter of a million bogus cigarettes and packets of tobacco following raids in Harehills and Kirklees.

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September 12, 2017

Philip Morris unveils first illicit tobacco fund recipients

From: Securing Industry

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International has selected 32 projects that will be funded through a $100m fund set up to tackle illicit tobacco products.

The project will be funded by PMI IMPACT, a global initiative set up to focus anti-illicit trade efforts, with the first projects from public, private, and academic sectors in 18 countries earmarked to receive up to $28m under the scheme. The 32 winners – from the first of three rounds – were selected out of some 200 applicants, with projects covering the following areas:

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August 14, 2017

Seminário discutirá fim do contrabando e da criminalidade no Brasil

From: Correio Braziliense

Encontro promovido pelo Correio Braziliense reunirá jornalistas, especialistas e políticos envolvidos na Segurança Pública do país. As inscrições estão abertas

Na próxima terça-feira (15/8) será realizado o seminário “O Brasil que nós queremos: unidos pelo fim do contrabando e da criminalidade”. O evento, promovido pelo Correio Braziliense, contará com as presenças do ministro da Justiça e Segurança Pública, Torquato Jardim, do deputado Efraim Filho (DEM/PB), do ministro do Tribunal de Contas da União João Augusto Nardes, do coordenador do Movimento Mercado Legal, Edson Vismona e do jornalista e diretor da Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI), Mauri König, que debaterão sobre como resolver o problema do mercado ilegal, causador da insegurança que oprime o Brasil.

August 11, 2017

Over 20% of Cigarettes Consumed in Maghreb are Illicit- KPMG Study

From: The North Africa Post

llicit cigarettes accounted for over 20% of consumption across the Maghreb region in 2016. However successful prevention strategies have resulted in a 24% decline since 2015, said the Amsterdam based professional service and auditing company KPMG in a recent study.

The study, dubbed “Illicit Cigarette Trade in the Maghreb Region,” shows the 13 billion smuggled cigarettes consumed represented over $565 million in lost tax revenues, when taking into account both taxation on cigarettes and import related tariffs where applicable.

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