Cuba Culture

25,000 boxes of counterfeit Cuban cigars seized in 2005

Posted May 30, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

Customs officials seized nearly 25,000 boxes of contraband cigars last year as part of an anti-smuggling initiative, Cuban news agency AIN reported Tuesday.

Cigars are one of the island’s most important exports, worth about US$340 million (Ђ265 million) annually. But a recent rise in tourism has increased the black market for the product, prompting customs agents to tighten controls.

Some 80 percent of the cigars were seized at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, often from travelers headed to Panama or Mexico, customs official Col. Pedro Pupo told AIN.

Other airports in Santiago de Cuba, Varadero and Holguin accounted for the rest of the contraband, he said.

AIN reported that customs seized 24,690 boxes of cigars last year, plus 335 kilograms (740 pounds) of false seals and stamps that are used to pass off lower-quality cigars as authentic Habanos.

Travelers are allowed to leave the Caribbean island nation with 23 cigars without restrictions, but for any amount above that they must show receipts from cigar stores approved by Habanos S.A., Cuba’s cigar marketing firm, reports AP.

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Member Comments

On June 05, 2006, Shane Gibson - Canadian Cigar Lover wrote:

I often get these counterfeit cigars as gifts from well meaning clients that have been duped by a friend or relative returning from Cuba or Mexico.  As a general rule I never buy a box from an un authorized retailer or individual until I’ve smoked a cigar from the box.  There are a lot of reputable places online and offline one can get authentic cuban cigars.  The bottomline is you get what you pay for!

On June 06, 2006, publisher wrote:


Thanks for the post. FYI, there is a Cohibas thread over here and be sure to see our Fake vs. Real Cohiba Esplendido page here .


PS, I fixed your URL. Feel free to simply past the URL into your comments box next time you post. No html code necessary.

On July 29, 2009, darreny wrote:

Are we supposed to be glad about this? A lot of Americans wish the Cuban embargo to end and a lot of Americans wouldn’t refuse a fine Cuban cigar. So cigar trafficking is the only solution to this…