As cigarette taxes rise year after year, buttlegging is still a problem according to a recent Breitbart report:
‘Smuggled cigarettes have become the new currency of organized crime, and a lot of these criminal organizations are finding that it’s more profitable than illegal narcotics,’ Rich Marianos, the retired Assistant Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, recently noted.
Marianos said that black market tobacco smuggling has become “a high-profit, low-risk criminal enterprise. Compared to drug offenses where there’s a mandatory minimum sentence, there’s no penalties out there for the cigarette trafficker.”
We’ve been saying this for years. This was more than a decade ago:
. . .keep in mind that all those smuggling dollars floating around are completely unregulated and may even end up in the hands of terrorists. One Michigan cigarette smuggling operation was suspected of having funneled millions to the Hezbolah terrorist group.
The Post also notes that since they are dealing a legal product, police and judges go pretty easy on them. A person busted for dealing cigarettes usually faces a summons or a small fine. With big pay days on the line, dealers engaged in turf wars have little remorse for their violent actions. Said one dealer, “Think about crack, man, how raw that got back in the 1980s. This ain’t that bad yet, but there’s easy, almost make-believe money to be made hawking smokes, so it don’t matter what the police do . . . you’re going to have crews setting up franchises, cutting up the city, and deading the competition.”
And back in 2005, we noted that…
Over-regulation leads to under-regulation. When prohibition of alcohol took affect, your average Joe didn’t think twice about civil disobedience. Speak-easies popped up and alcohol was available for anyone with the money to buy it. The price went up, the quality went down, and any of the laws that controlled product quality or safety were moot. As neo-temperance takes hold people will gradually start to ignore anti-smoking laws. That is, when cigarettes are outlawed only outlaws will have cigarettes. When that happens, the government will be powerless to control what goes into cigarettes. They could become more harmful, even deadly depending on how cheaply they’re produced. Laws governing the nicotine, tar, and carcinogens produced from tobacco will be worthless. And what about the children? There will be no way to limit access to cigarettes. All those age-limits that anti-smokers pushed through a few years back will be negated once cigarettes are sold in mass quantities on the streets. By over-regulating the product, they’ll actually increase it’s overall availability. The only thing between a child and a cigarette will be the conscience of the dealer.