SEE UPDATE SPET. 4TH, 2010……..Reporter Charles Leaf Fox News 5 New York Troubled Past Includes a “Willful Physical Attack Against A Councilwoman”, a Lawsuit and Misrepresenting Himself to Get an Interview, Unprofessional Behavior.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Anti-tobacco groups have accused the Government of complacency over the use of children by organised crime gangs to smuggle cigarettes into Ireland.
Ash, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation said they were shocked and outraged at the investigation aired this week by RTE’s Prime Time , which found children as young as 14 were being used to sell illegal and counterfeit cigarettes around the country.
The investigation found that the smuggled cigarettes were on sale openly in casual markets and estimated that each carton of 200 sold on the black market represented a loss of about €65 to the exchequer.
“In the Dáil yesterday, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan appears to have ruled out a tobacco price increase in the forthcoming Budget even though it would yield an estimated a badly needed €420 million to the Exchequer, without any significant impact on inflation. Instead the Minister, in a letter to us, has cited the excuse of smuggling as a reason not to increase tax on tobacco, even though there is compelling evidence to show that such an increase would deter young people from starting and encourage smokers to quit,” said Irish Cancer Society chief executive John McCormack.
Cigarettes have particular appeal to potential smugglers because taxes often account for a large share of their price (which Brack Obama in the USA has recently raised again), making them a highly profitable product to smuggle. Economic models of smuggling are used to develop techniques for measuring the extent and nature of the worldwide cigarette smuggling problem.
See my prior post, Friday, March 27, 2009, Cigarette Smugglers in St. Louis, New York City, Charlotte and Tampa Funnel Money to Terror Groups like Hezbollah.
The ICS said it was shocked by the Government’s attitude to what it described as “a major public health issue”. There are an estimated 7,000 deaths every year related to tobacco, with 1,700 people dying from lung cancer.
Chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation Michael O’Shea said the organisation was angered by the Government’s “apparent inability” to control the smuggling of illicit tobacco products into Ireland.
“The failure by government to tackle the growth in smuggling is not a good enough reason not to protect the health of our children from cigarette smoking. This is a national disgrace,” he said.
“It is not acceptable to let criminal activity dictate social measures to protect the health of our children and young people. It is not acceptable to say there will be no increase in tobacco prices – a proven deterrent to new and existing smokers – because smuggling will increase.”
He called for the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to increase resources to deter smugglers through measures such as increased penalties and prosecutions.
According to a Federal 2008 report, citing federal and New York state law enforcement sources, nearly 70 percent of all convenience retail outlets in New York City are now Arab-owned, primarily families of Lebanese, Yemeni, Jordanian and Palestinian descent.
The connection to terrorism is no exaggeration. When New York police cracked another smuggling ring in 2005, they uncovered a multimillion dollar flow of funds from New York City to unknown individuals in the Middle East. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave voice to the obvious conclusion: Terrorists probably got the money.
Just a few weeks before that 2005 bust, Buffalo-area businessman Aref Ahmed had been sentenced to three years and a month for cigarette smuggling. The feds said he’d used the racket to fund “scholarships” at terrorist training camps in Afghanistan during the spring of 2001. Going back to 1993, counterfeit cigarette stamps were found in the apartment of the first World Trade Center bombers.
Fourteen people operating a cigarette racketeering ring out of five St. Louis convenience stores to send money to Palestinian territories have been indicted on federal racketeering and related charges, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office said Tuesday. The Hamed Organization, comprised mostly of family members, sold stolen infant formula, computers, Global Positioning System devices and cigarettes out of its convenience stores in St. Louis City and County and used couriers to send money and jewelry to Palestinian territories, said U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway.
TAMPA SMUGGLED CIGARETTE SCHEME UP IN SMOKE, ARRESTED ARE KHALDOUN “TONY” KHAWAJA AND 5 OTHERS, A SEARCH WARRANT WAS SERVED AT THE MAIN STREET GROCERY.. TAMPA, FL–A scheme to facilitate the theft and resale of smuggled cigarettes has been uncovered as the result of “Operation Up in Smoke”, an ongoing criminal investigation run by the Tampa Bay Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF).
Tony Khawaja in Tampa Fl has an arrest record (12 times arrested) linked to the stolen cigarette scam dating back to 1999;
|12 Matches Found For: KHAWAJA|
|Name||Race||Sex||DOB||Booking Date||Booking Number|
According to Lance Newman, Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agent in charge and, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, RDSTF co-chairs, intelligence collected by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States indicated that the proceeds from the sale of stolen property, particularly SMUGGLED CIGARETTES and BABY FORMULA in convenience stores, have allegedly been forwarded to foreign groups associated with funding terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad which has numerous links in Tampa).
In February 2004, the Tampa Bay RDSTF received information from the Jacksonville RDSTF that a Tampa resident, Adil Abdel Hader, 58, was allegedly involved in an organized criminal enterprise that purchased stolen cigarettes derived from “smash and grab” burglaries throughout Central Florida. Through a series of undercover operations, agents identified suspects, including Hader, who purchased stolen cigarettes at prices well below wholesale value and resold them through convenience stores whom Hader either controlled or with whom he was associated. Smuggled Cigarettes totaling approximately $45,000 in value were purchased by suspects who were told they had been stolen.
A list of suspects arrested and charges follows (these men pled out and were put on Florida State felony probation):
Abil Abdel Hader 08/19/47 Solicitation to Commit Sexual Battery Dealing in Stolen Property.
Khaldoun Khalil “Tony” Khawaja 03/28/64 Dealing in Stolen Property Racketeering.
Salim Yousef Suleiman 01/14/62 Dealing in Stolen Property Racketeering.
Said Ibrahim 11/24/55 Dealing in Stolen Property Racketeering.
Tariq Hammad 01/01/87 Dealing in Stolen Property Racketeering.
Victor Javier Reyes 11/02/77 Dealing in Stolen Property Racketeering.
SAC Newman stated that “while we are not accusing anyone of terrorist activity, we want to send a clear message that the RDSTF is proactively looking at people and businesses that engage in activities that have historically supported groups sympathetic to terrorist organizations.”
Bill Warner…private investigator