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Commission blames cigarettes for increase in organized crime

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Richmond, VA (WTVR) – Organized crime is on the rise in Virginia. And state leaders say it’s all because of cigarettes.

Virginia currently has the second lowest cigarette tax in the country. The Virginia Crime Commission says that is attracting crime groups from as far away as New York because they can make bigger profits transporting cigarettes than they can with most illegal drugs.

The State Crime Commission also discussed increasing penalties on cigarette traffickers at a meeting in Richmond Tuesday afternoon.

Last year, the General Assembly gave police the right to pull over and ticket drivers with too many cigarettes in their car. But very few drivers have been cited.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Crime Commission also discussed asking Virginia lawmakers to make texting while driving the equivalent of reckless driving.

They’ll discuss that issue at next year’s General Assembly session.