And the internet.
Michigan began a series of large cigarette tax increases in the 1990s, raising the incentive for illicit trafficking. In 1994 the state raised its 25 cent cigarette tax to 75 cents per pack--a 200 percent hike. Taxes were increased by an additional 50 cents per pack in 2002. The most recent increase took effect July 1, 2005. That was a 75 cents a pack hike, taking Michigan's cigarette tax to its current $2 a pack.
In 2002, two cigarette smugglers were arrested in an FBI sting. The duo were driving vans of illicit cigarettes from North Carolina to Detroit and allegedly using portions of their profits to subsidize Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in Lebanon with possible links to al-Qaida.
An associate of one of those smugglers, a resident of Dearborn, was arrested in a different operation. He pleaded guilty to smuggling as much as $72,000 worth of illicit tobacco each month to Michigan. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, he gave a portion of his profits to an "orphans of martyrs program" run by Hezbollah to help the relatives of those killed in the group's terrorist operations or by its enemies.