Video: Secret Tour inside the Baltic Tobacco Factory

Notorious as a haven for smugglers and money launderers, Kaliningrad, Russia, is not a place where it’s safe to ask many questions. In 2006, troops raided a local newspaper office that criticized the police for, among other things, protecting cigarette smugglers. In April 2008, ICIJ reporters went undercover to investigate the source of Europe’s “most disturbing” new development in contraband tobacco: Jin Ling cigarettes. Made in Kaliningrad by the Baltic Tobacco Factory, Jin Lings are flooding the black market across the European Union.

ICIJ reporters, carrying concealed video gear, posed as smugglers and set out to follow the Jin Ling trail.

Faux brand-name goods from toothpaste to tank tops proliferate at popular markets like this one in Hong Kong
Tobacco Underground

The counterfeit cops

Jan 27, 2010
Tobacco Underground

Video: New York’s billion-dollar cigarette black market

Dec 17, 2009
Tobacco Underground

Video: the most pressing issues in tobacco smuggling

Oct 20, 2009

Video: A wholesaler lays out the local cigarette prices

Oct 16, 2009
Tobacco Underground

Video: Jin Ling managers explain how the system works

Oct 16, 2009
Graffiti in Derry lauds the Real Irish Republican Army, which has made millions from tobacco smuggling
Tobacco Underground

Terrorism and tobacco

Jun 29, 2009
ICIJ is dedicated to ensuring all reports we publish are accurate. If you believe you have found an inaccuracy let us know.