Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tougher penalties for cigarette trafficking proposed


By Joe Beck

Cigarette traffickers seeking big profits in the illegal trade between Virginia and states with higher taxes on packs and cartons would face heavier penalties under legislation introduced by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

Gilbert’s bill would incorporate several crimes involving illegal cigarette sales into the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, a law that has previously been reserved for offenses such as murder, assaults, gang crimes, terrorism, money laundering and transmitting of illegal money.

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Fake drugs flood East African markets

Editor’s Note:  Counterfeit cigarettes are a subset of the larger problem of counterfeit consumer products.  All counterfeit products are a grave danger to public health.

From: Washington Post

KAMPALA, Uganda — In the bustling slums of Kampala, amid dilapidated shacks constructed alongside open sewers, Muwangula Misambwa’s business is booming.

Misambwa is one of Uganda’s traditional healers — witch doctors — who ply a trade in promising to solve problems through herbal potions and ancient spells passed down through generations.

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Higher tax rate creates black market for cigarettes


by Brad Woodard, KHOU 11 News

HOUSTON – The tax rate on cigarettes is so high in Texas that it is sparking a huge draw for illegal cigarettes creating a new kind of organized crime, according to experts.

“I remember when my mom paid 59 cents. I remember those days, but I never thought I’d pay $3 a gallon for gas either,” Ora Patterson, a smoker, said referring to increased cost of pack of cigarettes.

It’s one of the reasons Pamela Pope rolls her own.

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Kings County [Brooklyn, NY] District Attorney Charles J. Hynes Announces The Takedown Of A Counterfeit Cigarette Operation And Seizure Of Nearly $5 Million In Counterfeit Cigarettes

From: Kings Country District Attorney Charles J. Hynes

012813hynes.jpg Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes with a carton of fake Marlboros. (Courtesy Brooklyn DA’s office)


Brooklyn, January 25, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes 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.

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How cigarette smuggling fuels Africa’s Islamist violence

From: The Guardian

Contrabrand tobacco is a $1bn trade in north Africa, run by extremists including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who masterminded the attack on the Algerian gas plant. The trade is highly profitable – and very low risk

Jamie Doward

For many years Mokhtar Belmokhtar was little more than a footnote in the intelligence reports analysing the increasingly muscular presence of Islamist groups in Saharan Africa.

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