Former ATF Agent: New York’s Cigarette Tax Policy Drives Crime That Funds Terror

Strict laws must be put in place to combat New York City’s massive tobacco smuggling problem, former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives Assistant Director Rich Mariano told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Street gangs, narcotics crews, Russian and Asian organized crime networks, and terrorists are trading cigs for guns, narcotics — even humans,” Mariano, who was with the ATF for 27 years, said.

NYC’s disproportionately high cigarette tax is allowing hardened criminals and even terrorists to fund illicit activity and make huge profits, with almost no risk, thanks to lax tobacco smuggling laws.

Since 2006, the tax rate on NYC cigarettes has gone up 190 percent — consumers now pay $4.35 to New York and $1.50 to NYC per pack, which often cost more than $12. Consumers in nearby states, such as Virginia and Delaware on the other hand, pay closer to between $5 and $8 a pack.