Together, We Can Protect Arizona Businesses From Illegal Trade

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Hernan Albamonte, head of illicit trade prevention for Philip Morris International and USA-IT partner, and Juan Ciscomani with the Arizona-Mexico Commission discuss how cooperation is helping protect Arizona from illegal trade:

“From smuggling tobacco — an illegal practice that costs Arizona taxpayers $175 million each year — to counterfeiting luxury items and trafficking in deadly drugs, the havoc wreaked by illegal trade on our communities and economy is tremendous. The peddling of these illicit goods produces revenue used to fund even more sinister activities, such as human trafficking and terrorism. This problem has plagued Arizona for far too long. From 2014 to 2019, the state ranked first in the nation for the nearly 18,000 incidents of prescription substances lost in transit. In 2017, federal law enforcement seized more than $13 million in smuggled currency, the third most among U.S. states. Sadly, Arizona has had more than 1,200 cases of human trafficking since 2007, a stat that places it at 14th-highest in the nation. And these are only the ones that have been reported.”

“Now, more than ever, we need public and private partnerships that are connecting local officials, law enforcement and the private sector with the critical information and training needed to combat illegal trade. Business and community leaders must work together to educate and take action against the shocking prevalence of black-market profiteering, as well as the consequences it wreaks on their economy and the safety of their citizens. Adequate enforcement will not only protect consumers from unsafe and counterfeit goods, it will promote Arizona businesses and strengthen our economy.”

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