Men Charged In Mutil-Million Dollar Cigarette Scam

Eleven men have been charged with running a multimillion-dollar cigarette trafficking and money laundering operation in North and South Carolina.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that federal court documents unsealed last week detail the charges against the men, who were arrested in November.

The documents say the men bought 6,800 cases of Marlboro cigarettes at half their market price from people they thought had stolen the merchandise. In reality, they were undercover law enforcement officers.

Investigators say the men also helped launder money given to them by the undercover agents.

Black market cigarettes are often funneled from states with lower taxes to states with higher taxes, where they're sold at a discount.

Authorities estimate the trade costs governments $5 billion a year in lost revenue.


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  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Jan 24, 2012 at 04:16 AM
    Truck drivers use to do it here all the time - esp. the ones that ran to N.Y. or anywhere North. Heck, I had a fellow that worked for me and was flying to Spain working on some equipment we had delivered. He left the second trip w/ a second suitcase full of 'Levis' bluejeans....... He bought them for 30 they go for 80 to 100 no telling what they go for now.
  • by Anti Tax on Jan 23, 2012 at 07:19 PM
    This will happen any time the government over taxes or makes something illegal that the people want. Just look at alcohol before it was legalized. Same with todays marijuana laws......the government creates the underground and black market!
  • by Smokin Joe on Jan 23, 2012 at 04:38 PM
    I guess smokin is addictive after all. If Timothy Geintner did,'t pay his taxes how is buying a carton of smokes without paying tax such a big deal? Just sayin dude.
  • by taxman Location: wilson on Jan 23, 2012 at 09:02 AM
    Why this is pretty much the same as what the Swiss bankers help you do: Avoid Taxes ! Pirates and rum runners did a lot of the same business also. Why even some of the early settlers were involved in smuggling tea to avoid taxes ! Seems to me it must be an honorable enterprise !
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jan 23, 2012 at 08:27 AM
    headline Should have read Camel brothers caught trying to saddle up with Marlboro man to sneak into New York City.
  • by Yukon on Jan 23, 2012 at 07:17 AM
    Now I Know What To The Marlboro Man
  • by Anonymous on Jan 23, 2012 at 07:01 AM
    Sounds like entrapment to me.
    • reply
      by Anthony on Jan 23, 2012 at 08:56 AM in reply to
      That was my first thought too.
  • by Been Going On 4 Years on Jan 23, 2012 at 06:52 AM
    I knew some "Small Time Dealers" that carried several boxes of cigarettes up to NY state once or twice a year. They had friends that would buy the cigs from them to avoid the state taxes. On a large scale, it nets $40-50 dollars and if you're headed up there anyway, you can pocket a few bucks.
  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Jan 23, 2012 at 04:36 AM
    Nice to know who the culprits were - maybe some Phillip-Morris employees, or maybe some group I have in mind close to the SC line.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 23, 2012 at 03:42 AM
    Common sense common sense = When you show up to pay for 6,800 cartons of cig's, this is not your first time doing it. You can almost double your money on Cig's in NY. Did you not the read the part about money laundering. Cig's were only part of the business.
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