Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cigarette Smuggling a Common Scheme

Editor’s Note:  One of the key points in the article below is that cigarette trafficking is more lucrative than gun running.

From: Wall Street Journal


Within months of being approached by a confidential informant about making a traffic ticket disappear, William Masso, a veteran NYPD officer, was suggesting a more lucrative scheme: smuggling cigarettes into New York City, federal authorities said.

“Do you know how much you’ll make with that?” Mr. Masso allegedly told the Federal Bureau of Investigation informant in April 2010.

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Cops, corrections officer nabbed in smuggling ring

Editor’s Note:  The following article illustrates the close relation between cigarette trafficking and arms trafficking.


NEW YORK (WABC) — The bust of a gun trafficking ring snared 12 people, including eight current and former NYPD officers, as well as a corrections officer from New Jersey.

Five current and three retired NYPD officers will be arraigned Tuesday on federal charges including conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines, conspiracy to transport defaced firearms across state lines, conspiracy to sell firearms across state lines and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen property across state lines. Also arrested are a former New Jersey state corrections officer, a former officer with the city’s Department of Sanitation Police and two of his friends.

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Cigarette Trafficking Ring Busted in Georgia

From: NACS Online

A four-year investigation leads to nearly 50 arrests last week when officials broke up a major cigarette tax crime ring.

ATLANTA – The cigarettes they were selling may have been real, but they were doing so without paying taxes
Georgia state officials announced last week that 40 of the 50 people being accused in a multi-million-dollar crime ring at been arrested, following a nearly four-year statewide investigation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“This is pure and simple, organized crime,” said Scott Sweetow, an ATF special agent. “When you have millions of dollars at stake, we get very concerned with those millions of dollars.”
The crime ring includes both retailers and wholesalers who were practicing tax evasion on a large scale by purchasing counterfeit tax stamps, notes the newspaper, adding that the ring has cost the state millions of dollars in tax revenue.  
“They gave the appearance that they were following the law, but in fact they didn’t realize they were conspiring with agents,” Sweetow said.
The individuals involved in the crime ring are expected to face charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and for possession of tobacco with counterfeit stamps.​
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80,000 illegal cigarettes seized in raid on Dudley Market stall

From: Birmingham Mail (UK)

CUSTOMS officers seized almost 80,000 illegal cigarettes in a raid on a Dudley Market stall which also netted counterfeit clothing.

Others involved in the swoop earlier this month, which also targeted a van and a private address, were officers from Dudley trading standards and NHS Dudley.

Coun David Stanley, Dudley cabinet member for environment and culture, said: “The people who sell these goods are not helping our community or honest local traders and we will not hesitate to act upon information we have received.”

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Campaign to raise awareness of illegal tobacco

Editor’s Note:  The following article highlights that counterfeit and other contraband cigarettes contribute to youth smoking.

From Rochdale Online (UK)

A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of illegal tobacco after research revealed its availability is making it too easy for children and young people to smoke.

The “Keep it Out” campaign, launched by Tobacco Free Futures (previously known as Smokefree North West), aims to raise awareness of illegal tobacco and the harmful effect it has on young people in the borough of Rochdale.

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