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Carreras praise cops after $60-m illegal cigarette bust

first_img Share (Jamaica Observer) Cigarette marketer and distributor Carreras Limited yesterday commended the police force’s Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch (C-TOC) after the unit seized illegally imported cigarettes valued at more than $60 million on Wednesday evening in St Andrew.Police reported that the contraband was found about 4:45 pm at premises on Dumbarton Avenue where several businesses operate.Yesterday, Carreras praised the police for what it described as their vigorous efforts to clamp down on the illegal cigarette trade.The company noted that Wednesday’s bust came on the heels of a historic illegal cigarette find of 890 cases, valued at over $500 million, during an operation in Westgate Hill, St James, last month.A man was taken into custody following that seizure.“The major seizures over the past few weeks are a clear indication of C-TOC’s resolve to stamp out illegal cigarettes in the domestic market,” a company release quoted Managing Director Marcus Steele.“Whilst we are encouraged by the strong enforcement efforts of the police we continue to urge the Government and Customs to implement stronger port and border monitoring and protection to prevent these illegal goods from entering the island in the first place,” Steele added.Carreras said that once these illegal cigarettes enter the domestic market, they pose significant challenges to the Government, not only in terms of its revenues, but as well to the State’s health and tobacco control agenda, particularly as it relates to regulating the product, protecting minors and ensuring the requisite quality standards.“Illegal cigarettes have been found to contain ingredients such as asbestos, dead flies and rodent faeces, and so we wish to caution wholesalers, vendors, retailers, and merchants against purchasing these illegal sub-standard cigarettes,” Carreras said in the news release.“We would also want to take the opportunity to again point out the nexus between the illicit trade and the criminal underworld. These successive major finds and the rising incidence of illegal cigarettes in the marketplace point to the illicit traders being seemingly unfazed by the current penalties ascribed for being caught,” the company said.“We are therefore appealing to the Government to vigorously pursue and bring to justice those persons involved in the illicit trade and in tandem with that, to review and reform the fines, penalties and sanctions for dealing in and being caught with illicit cigarettes,” the company added.It reiterated its call for “a sustainable tobacco excise policy that recognises the direct link between increasing tobacco excise and the proliferation of illegal cigarettes within the market” and said it remains ready to support the Government in the fight against illicit trade. Share Share Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! 102 Views   no discussions BusinessNewsRegional Carreras praise cops after $60-m illegal cigarette bust by: – July 6, 2018last_img read more