Tobacco Underground is a project of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Working with reporters in more than a dozen countries, ICIJ is charting the frontlines of the illicit traffic in cigarettes.

During 2000 and 2001, a team of reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke a series of landmark stories exposing how leading tobacco companies worked with criminal networks to smuggle cigarettes around the world.

Relying on interviews with insiders and thousands of internal industry documents, the unique team – based in six countries – pieced together how smuggling played a key role in big tobacco’s strategy to boost sales and increase market share. Those revelations, and others that followed, helped prompt lawsuits and government inquiries, and led to promises of a global crackdown on the illegal trade in tobacco.

Read the original Big Tobacco Smuggling investigation at

In coming months, look for new stories on this ever-shifting trade, from the underground factories of China and America’s Indian reservations to the lawless border lands of northwest Pakistan and southeast Paraguay.

Editor: David E. Kaplan
Deputy Editor: Marina Walker Guevara
Web Editor: Andrew Green
Deputy Web Editor: Cole Goins
Multimedia Editor: Ariel Olson Surowidjojo
Audio Editor: Sarah Laskow
Research Editor: Peter Newbatt Smith
Fact-Checking: Laura Cheek, Paulette Garthoff
Copy Editor: Sara Bularzik
Additional Editing: Gordon Witkin, Tom Stites
Communications: Steve Carpinelli

Stefan Candea (Romania), Duncan Campbell (United Kingdom), Patricia Chan (Hong Kong), Te-Ping Chen (United States), Gong Jing (China), Alain Lallemand (Belgium), Aamir Latif (Pakistan), Vlad Lavrov (Ukraine), William Marsden (Canada), Paul Christian Radu (Romania), Mabel Rehnfeldt (Paraguay), Roman Shleynov (Russia), Leo Sisti (Italy), Daniel Santoro (Argentina), Marcelo Soares (Brazil), Drew Sullivan (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Kate Willson (United States).

Interactive Map/Homepage Design: Stephen Rountree
Web Site Design: Top Dead Center Design

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Funded by a grant from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. The grant was part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and coordinated by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In addition, organizational support is provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, Greenlight Capital LLC Employees, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Park Foundation,  the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and other generous institutional and individual donors. The Tobacco Underground project is also grateful for pro bono assistance from PIERS (Port Import Export Reporting Service), the primary source of U.S. waterborne import-export trade data.