Unlawful Cigarette Contrabands Continue their Business
Over the past several years, the illicit tobacco trade has reemerged as one of the most lucrative smuggling operations in the United States and around the Globe. The World Health Organization has estimated that illicit cigarettes account for 10.7 percent, or approximately 600 billion cigarettes, of the more than 5.7 trillion cigarettes sold globally each year.
The sales of illegal cigarettes will never end. Almost all scientists declared that even the smoking ban increased the unlawful cigarettes sales. For example, a recent study showed that more than 60,000 illegal smoking products and almost 160 kilos of tobacco, including a haul hided in boxing punch bags, have been seized in south Wales.
This week as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) continues its severe measures on those who import and sell non duty paid tobacco products.
Officers visiting Swansea and Carmarthenshire seized more than 32,000 cigarettes, 83 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, 60 cigars and a vehicle. The biggest haul was in Llanelli, where 80 kilos of tobacco and 8,100 cigarettes were found after an investigation of a garage and a car parked outside a domestic property.
Officers reported that they also worked in the south Wales valleys where they seized over 22,000 illicit cigarettes and 16 kilos of hand rolling tobacco. In Pontypridd, officers seized 7,600 cigarettes and almost 5 kilos of tobacco from a commercial property, along with 9060 cigarettes and almost 10 kilos of tobacco from a house in the town.
Keith Morgan, Specialist Investigations for HMRC said: “Our teams continue to use information to identify, examine and follow those whose benefits come from avoiding tax. These criminals act at an advantage over law permanent businesses and customers who pay the right amount of duty on their tobacco products. By buying cigarettes at cheap prices, customers unwillingly start trading with criminals who often use their ill gotten gains to fund other, more serious criminal activity.”
Morgan added: “I would urge people tempted by cheap tobacco to think twice before handing over their cash – you could be helping to finance drug smuggling and more.”
In general, in its operations, the contraband and counterfeit tobacco trade is very similar to other types or illicit activities.
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