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Report ties organized crime, drugs to Akwesasne tobacco trafficking

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A new report details the billion dollar trafficking of untaxed cigarettes into Canada from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation near Massena. The investigation by the Center for Public Integrity documented 5 to 10 unlicensed tobacco factories in Akwesasne and on the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal.

Smugglers carry cigarettes across the Canadian border and sell them in Ontario and Quebec for $20 a carton. A legally taxed carton costs $80 to $90. The Canadian government estimates it is losing $1.6 billion a year in taxes while health care costs associated with smoking are rising. William Marsden of the Montreal Gazette reported the story. He told David Sommerstein the tobacco smuggling has attracted more organized crime and drugs to an already porous region of the U.S.-Canada border.

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