My friends at ASH have this stark essay on who is involved in tobacco smuggling and I quote:
“Links to organised crime and terrorism Tobacco smuggling has strong links with terrorist and paramilitary organisations, organised crime syndicates and insurgencies. The enormous profits to be made by evading tobacco duties make smuggling an attractive option for unscrupulous criminal interests. The Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are involved in smuggling cigarettes as is the Columbian FARC. Both the Provisional IRA and the splinter group the Real IRA have been linked with tobacco smuggling as a way of raising money to fund their activities. Chinese Triads are central to the traffic to the UK of counterfeit cigarettes produced in highly sophisticated factories in the Far East.”
If ASH say so, it must be true.