The criminal group is listed as one of the main organizations involved in smuggling cigarettes to other countries
The criminal group Los Zetas ranks as one of the main organizations involved in smuggling cigarettes from Panama to other countries in Central America, Mexico and Brazil, today unveiled a tobacco executive.
“The Zetas and the various mafias operating in Central America and the Caribbean are the main smugglers of cigarettes. Apart from their illegal actions they are in the smuggling because these products are easy to launder money, “said Alfonso Gordon, regional manager for trademark protection of British American Tobacco.
At a forum on the topic, Gordon said the Mexican criminal organization “is very influential in smuggling” in the region because their members have moved from Mexico to the south, specifically Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
He said that in discussions with various authorities in Central America in the course of investigations into smuggling from the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), the Caribbean, Panama, the band is mentioned Los Zetas.
He even cited that according to the investigations, 50 percent of the group’s business is related to drug trafficking and 50 percent to cigarette smuggling and human trafficking and weapons.
The way that the smugglers operate begins when one of its members visit cigarette factories in Paraguay, China and India to purchase product, which is then transferred to the FTA under a customs manifest “in transit” and then “re”.
“They’re going to Central and then to Mexico or Brazil. (Both countries) are the main target them for market size and the number of consumers, “said Gordon.
The executive said that organized gangs in the region raided the smuggling of goods as a means to legalize the money from drug trafficking or weapons.
“They get a lot of cash for drugs and somehow have to legalize it and one of them is by using products such as snuff tradition, which legalized in different countries and launder money,” he said.
A curious fact that Belize quoted destinations around the smuggling-record banking superior to all the countries of Central America “with connections to Panama,” without having a major industry, although three casinos on the border with Mexico.
One problem is that authorities cannot check the goods when it is stated that customs documents is in transit, although executives of British American tobacco, assessed the actions against the scourge of the Customs Authority of Panama.
Cordon said that for its geographical position, Panama is an important point in the logistics of the smugglers of cigarettes, illegal flow of 5.5 million units from the FTA, of which only one million remains in the country of the isthmus.
In Paraguay, the country with 35 cigarette factories which 90 percent were exports, India and China, should the snuff which triangulates the countries of the region from the Panamanian free zone, to impact the final consumer price.
On China, said a large factory in the country has an above-the three major tobacco companies in the world, including British American tobacco.
During the forum, the former prosecutor on intellectual property crimes and now a legal consultant, Ramiro Esquivel, warned of the economic, social and health from cigarette smuggling, counterfeiting and alteration.
As several countries in the region, Panama also tightened smoking with bans in public places and imposing tax rates of up to 100 percent, but as it impacted Cord increase consumption of illegal products.