Carreras commends police for $5m cigarette bust

Friday, April 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Leading cigarette distributor Carreras Limited has commended the police for their efforts in seizing a quantity of illegal cigarettes, estimated to value $5 million, in Clarendon yesterday.

Carreras lamented that the illicit trade in cigarettes has been an ongoing challenge not only for the legal tobacco industry, but also for the Government, who they estimate continues to lose almost $5 billion in revenues annually as a result of this illicit trade.

Managing Director of Carreras, Marcus Steele said that C-TOC's efforts in recent times to clamp down on the sale of counterfeit and contraband products, and in this case illicit cigarettes, deserve commendation, particularly because of the nexus between the illicit trade and the criminal underworld.

He added that “this latest find is encouraging as we are now grappling with a rapidly growing illegal cigarette trade which now account for almost 25 per cent of the total cigarette market in Jamaica” said Marcus Steele, managing director of the company.”

Two business owners have since been arrested in connection with the seizure and are to answer to charges of possession of uncustomed goods when they appear in the Lionel Town Parish Court on May 11.

Read: Two business people charged in 'illegal' cigarette bust

Carreras said the illicit trade in cigarettes has been an ongoing challenge not only for the legal tobacco industry but also for the Government, who we estimate continues to lose almost $5 billion in revenues annually as a result of this illicit trade.

“We must therefore commend the excellent work of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Fitz Bailey and his team, in their relentless efforts to stamp out illegal cigarettes by making seizures like these,” said Steele.

Carreras in the meantime said it will continue to impress upon the Government, the need for a sustainable tobacco excise policy that recognises the direct link between increasing tobacco excise and a proliferation of illegal cigarettes within the market.

“We also will continue to emphasise the need for stronger border and port protection mechanisms and enforcement to stem the inflow of these illicit products,” it said.

The company also expressed its readiness to support the Government in its plans aimed at suppressing the illicit trade.

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