From: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Cigarette Trafficking, Smurfing, and Volume Buying

Policy, Investigation, and Methodology Recommendations From a Case Study

William V. Pelfrey Jr.


Cigarette trafficking represents a growing but poorly understood criminal activity. There are several modes of trafficking, ranging from small-time smugglers to sophisticated criminal networks. Tax disparities make trafficking cigarettes, often purchased legally in southern states and resold illicitly in northern locations, an immensely profitable yet low-risk enterprise. This article represents a case study of cigarette trafficking and is designed to identify modes of trafficking, key inflection points, and establish a predicate for discussion. Policy recommendations for legislation and law enforcement are proposed and avenues for studying this issue are described.