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Undercover ATF agents in Virginia have funneled more than 250 million cigarettes onto the nation's streets in the past three years through black market sales targeting smugglers, an Associated Press review has found.
Authorities say the flood of government-provided smokes — a pack and a half for every man, woman and child in New York City, the smugglers' main destination — leads them to organized crime rings and can even cut off financing for terrorists. The stings by the Bureau of Alcohol, T
A tractor-trailer filled with untaxed or low-tax cigarettes can hold a potential profit of $1 million if they're trucked to New York City, where each pack faces $2.75 in state taxes plus a $1.50 levy from the city itself. A single vanload can turn a $115,000 profit.