Illicit Tobacco Trade Between the United States and Mexico (2012)

Author: John Colledge


Objective: To provide a brief history of the illicit tobacco trade between Mexico and the United States.

Materials and Methods: Research included a previously published study: “Cigarette taxes and smuggling: A statistical analysis and historical review”, published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy; US Customs and Border Protection data; various US court documents; General Accountability Office reporting; media reports; other historical material, and a personal interview.

Results: The research revealed that there is no credible evidence of organized criminal activity related to the illicit trade in tobacco products from Mexico into the United States. However, there is clear and convincing evidence of organized criminal activity in smuggling tobacco products from the United States into Mexico for at least 167 years.
Conclusion: Historical records from 1845 into the 21st century clearly demonstrate that the United States was usually the source country for tobacco products moving illegally between the two countries.

Read more: Salud Pública de México