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U.S. Sen. Kohl: Sponsors Bill to Prevent Black Market Cigarette Smuggling

Source: WisPolitics, 2009-05-22

U.S. Senator Herb Kohl today reintroduced the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act of 2009 to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to crack down on black market tobacco selling. Cigarette trafficking has developed into a popular, and highly profitable, means of generating revenue for criminal and terrorist organizations. Hezbollah, al Qaeda and Hamas have all generated significant revenue from the sale of counterfeit cigarettes. That money is often raised in the United States, and it is then funneled back to these international terrorist groups. Cigarette smuggling is a multibillion dollar a year phenomenon and it is getting worse. In 1998, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) had six active tobacco smuggling investigations. In 2005, that number swelled to 452. Today there are more than 400 open cases. Cigarette trafficking, including the illegal sale of tobacco products over the internet, costs states billions of dollars in lost tax revenue each year. It is estimated that states lose $5 billion in revenues due to illegal tobacco sales.

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