The Metropolitan Control Agency (AMC) of the Municipality of Quito, together with the National Customs Service of Ecuador, the Metropolitan Public Airport Services Company and Quipor, proceeded this week to destroy approximately half a million cigarettes from contraband.

The destroyed cigarettes are the result of 600 operations carried out by the AMC in various sectors, which led to 428 initiation acts for non-regularized cigarette trade.

“These controls have been carried out in different parts of the city where the presence of cigarette sellers abounds, which allegedly enter the country through smuggling networks, without complying with the due fiscal obligations; one of these sectors is the Historic Center, specifically in the El Tejar sector,” says information from the AMC cited by different Ecuadorian media.

According to the AMC statement, various statistics indicate that approximately 30% of non-regularized merchants on the streets of Quito sell cigarettes.

“There are alarming figures that show that between 2015 and 2018 the cigarettes sold illegally in the country went from 18% to 55%; This means that one out of every two cigarettes sold in Ecuador, did not comply with their tax and customs obligations to enter the country. These figures can be translated into a loss of USD 141 million in taxes that the tobacco industry should pay”.

“In addition to the emergency we are experiencing and the great efforts we are making to avoid crowds and protect the lives of Quito residents; this is also a matter of public health, since they are products that do not have a sanitary registration and were allegedly smuggled in,” says Estefanía Grunauer, Supervisor of the AMC.

Source: Elcomercio.com and Quitoinforma.com

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