State Department group sees illicit cigarette trafficking as security threat
Virginia – A recent U.S. Department of State report on illegal tobacco trafficking deems it a lucrative revenue source for organized crime and terrorists in addition to costing state and local governments in the U.S. an estimated $3 billion to $7 billion in tax losses each year. Internationally, it fuels transnational crime, corruption, and terrorism,” the report says. “As it converges with other criminal activities, it undermines the rule of law and the licit market economy, and creates greater insecurity and instability in many of today’s security ‘hot spots’ around the world. Illicit tobacco provides a significant revenue stream to illicit actors without the high risks and punishments associated with trafficking in narcotics or humans.
The most recent estimate of the global tax loss to black market cigarette trafficking is $40 billion to $50 billion, the report says.