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Cigarette Trafficking and Traffickers in the Netherlands

NCJ Number
Crime & Justice International Volume: 23 Issue: 101 Dated: November/December 2007 Pages: 4-14
Maarten van Dijck
Date Published
November 2007
11 pages
This paper presents findings from case studies of individuals involved in cigarette smuggling in the Netherlands, which were conducted as part of the research project entitled, "Assessing Organized Crime" conducted in 2005 and 2006.
Findings show that virtually all the cigarette smugglers studied were motivated to make extra money through a criminal activity that is relatively easy for first-time offenders to enter and justify. As a result, men and women at the head of a family with kids and pensioners can be found smuggling cigarettes next to professional criminals who are also engaged in drug trafficking, music piracy, and money laundering. Smuggling networks are apparently limited to only a few regular suppliers and slightly more regular buyers at wholesale or retail levels. Cigarette smuggling in the form of "bootlegging" can be done from the trunk of a car or with a convoy of trucks and multiple warehouses. Each method of operation requires different skills and offender attitudes toward cigarette smuggling as a means of income. As long as the governments of European countries impose excise taxes on cigarettes at a different pace, all types of people will find it easy to profit from smuggling cigarettes from a country with low or no excise tax on cigarettes to another country whose cigarette prices are higher because of the excise tax. The study involved an analysis of 43 files of tobacco-related smuggling. The investigations occurred between 1999 and 2006. In the 43 case files, data pertained to 272 offenders. Data were obtained on an offender's gender, age, family ties, nationality, employment situation, involvement in other crime markets, and role in smuggling operations. 19 tables, photos, 4 notes, and 15 references