Drug dealers turn to cigarette smuggling
JOHANNESBURG | The national revenue service says illegal drug syndicates in South Africa are turning to cigarette smuggling.
The tax and customs authority said Tuesday that more than 1 billion smuggled cigarettes were confiscated last year. It said 70 percent of the tobacco contraband came from the nation’s troubled northern neighbor, Zimbabwe.
Authority spokesman Adrian Lackey said trends suggest “well-known organized crime figures have been moving away from investing in traditional illegal drug smuggling.”
In Zimbabwe’s chaotic economy, cigarettes sell for one-fourth of the retail price in South Africa.
Revenue officials said smuggled cigarettes also came from Dubai. They said a recent shipment of 18 million cigarettes was seized at the South African port of Durban.