Two strong pieces about the Illegal Cigarette trade. This is a major issue. Basically after shaking down the tobacco companies the whole trade went to Native and Organized Crime interest.
We are paying for the health burden of a now basically unregulated or tested product. Not only that we are paying for a half attempted effort to fight it.
Like prohibition in the 20’s or the drug trade you cannot beat something you don’t have the stomach or will to fight.
The best thing to do is tax it or partner in it like the Government did with gambling. You don’t see too many illegal gambling houses because the government offers the service.
You can’t charge $10 a pack for smokes when you can buy whole bags or cartons for the same price.
This situation is going to get worse before it gets better sadly because our elected officials are basically gutless and law enforcement isn’t allowed to do its job.
Then again, I think a part of society is happy to be stiffing government and that again is an indictment that far too many people think that the government are bigger thieves than the thieves themselves.
So vast are the profits, and so poorly are the laws enforced, that the contraband tobacco industry has attracted an unholy alliance of Canadian Indians — who say they have the right to sell untaxed cigarettes — and members of various organized crime gangs, according to law enforcement officials and the smugglers themselves. At the center of the trade are about 20 Indian-owned manufacturers that produce millions of untaxed and unregulated cigarettes a day out of small and medium-sized factories at Indian reserves in Ontario, Quebec, and across the border in New York State. An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found that outlaw bikers, Italian, Irish, Russian, and Asian mobs are also now involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and retailing of the illicit tobacco products. According to Indian smugglers and police, in some cases the capital to buy the equipment and set up operations was fronted by organized crime.
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