HomeNewsBriefMexico Makes Largest Ever Seizure of Contraband Cigarettes
BRIEF

Mexico Makes Largest Ever Seizure of Contraband Cigarettes

CONTRABAND / 8 AUG 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Mexico seized a shipment of contraband cigarettes worth over $12 million in the Pacific state of Sinaloa, one of the largest confiscations of the product ever made, according to officials.

Mexican officials announced on July 30 that they had confiscated 80 million cigarettes, reportedly originating from China and India, in the port city of Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The shipment was worth an estimated $12 million dollars, amounting to one of the biggest seizures of contraband cigarettes ever made, according to Mexican Health Minister Salomon Chertorivski.

The seizure comes a week after Mexican officials announced they had destroyed 12 million cigarettes and 18,000 bottles of whisky seized in the border city of Juarez, Chihuahua, earlier in July. In the last two years, some 3 billion illegal cigarettes have been confiscated in the country.

InSight Crime Analysis

The number of contraband cigarettes seized in Mexico has been on the rise in recent years. According to the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) the number of cigarettes decommissioned in 2012 will likely grow by 50 percent compared to 2010. Mexico raised the price of a packet by $0.52 last year, and a packet of contraband cigarettes can now sell for as little as 25 percent of the normal price (roughly $3).

The contraband cigarette trade takes place across Latin America. In June, Bolivia seized its largest ever shipment of smuggled cigarettes, worth a little over $100,00. In Colombia, meanwhile, a recent study by national merchant's federation Fenalco found that 14 percent of cigarettes consumed in the country were contraband.

Mexican officials stated in October that smuggled cigarettes make up about 10 percent of the country's total tobacco market, having grown from 2 percent in 2010, reported EFE. Many of the illegal cigarettes enter the country from China, Vietnam, Paraguay and India, according to the head of the National Alliance for Small Businesses.

Contraband is also a very common way for organized crime to launder illegal proceeds. The large cash transactions give them a very quick and easy way to inject money into the underground economy and establish an additional revenue stream at the same time.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 10 MAY 2013

Hydrocarbon theft in Mexico so far this year has nearly doubled in comparison with 2012, with the worst hit zones…

COLOMBIA / 4 DEC 2019

For the second consecutive year, some of Latin America’s leading academics and experts in the field of organized crime convened…

HOMICIDES / 25 SEP 2012

Analyst Alejandro Hope explains that with statistics now in for August, violence levels in Mexico appear to be continuing their…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…