Police Aim To Smoke Out Illicit Trad...

Police Aim To Smoke Out Illicit Trade......Smuggling cigarettes

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Spotsylvania, VA

#1 Jan 19, 2013

Smuggling cigarettes from Virginia to New York has a higher profit margin on the black market than cocaine, heroin, marijuana or firearms.

A pack of cigarettes that costs $4.50 in Winchester sells for $13 in New York City because of the difference in tax rates.

Cigarette traffickers purchase cigarettes in Virginia and sell them in higher-tax states such as New York for a hefty profit.

But cigarette trafficking doesn’t just rob higher-tax states of millions in tax revenue, law enforcement experts say.

According to the Virginia State Crime Commission (VSCC), the tens of millions of dollars made each year through cigarette smuggling often goes to fund organized crime or terrorist organizations.

The profit on a diverted load of 1,500 contraband cartons of cigarettes, taken from Virginia to New York City, can approach $100,000, according to the VSCC.

“It’s like going to Vegas and knowing you’re going to win,” said Paul J. Carey III, chief of enforcement for the Fairfax-based Northern Virginia Cigarette Tax Board.

Local law enforcement leaders say the problem is growing.

In recent months, Winchester and Frederick County officers have confiscated hundreds of cartons of cigarettes worth tens of thousands of dollars.

“Clearly this is such a big issue, not only [nationally], but in the city,” said Commissioner of the Revenue Ann T. Burkholder, who is responsible for tax billings for the city.

continued..http://www.winchest erstar.com/article/police_aim_ to_smoke_out_illicit_trade

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