Having never purchased Cuban cigars, this topic always fascinates me. For example, I read several reviews on another Board about Cuban machine-made cigars that sounded quite interesting. Then I saw a post for a multi-box split. Five people splitting 5 boxes. Each person got 25 various MM Cubans for $100, shipping included. Now there's a source that I'd love to know about.
Thanks for resurrecting this old post, especially since I am new here. I will offer a few comments.
1. ATF does watch these sites. They are not after individuals, but after the vendors who ship the goods to the U.S. Some of the vendors are blatant about advertising that they will ship into the U.S. Just as a point of reference, you may often see a vendor who advertises that they ship into the U.S., then a few days later the advertisement is changed, only to resurrect later. Some of these companies have a money loop back to the U.S. In other words, they are financed and set up by U.S. sources. These are the folks that U.S. officials are after. Nope, Customs and ATF have not laid down arms against the import of Cuban contraband.
2. Some folks will say that this amounts to “small potatoes”, for U.S. Customs or ATF. That is incorrect. “Big potatoes” used to be considered the seizure of a container load or two of contraband, and its distribution network. The contraband would come in as a single point of entry and would then be distributed through an established network, usually associated with some organized crime group. The internet and the advent of inexpensive direct mail changed all of that. A single source of entry like a ship, with a large shipment, is no longer the issue, nor is it even considered “big potatoes”. The issue now is thousands of points of entry of contraband being brought in by conventional delivery means. No more distribution network is needed. The supplier can safely park offshore and simply take orders via the internet. With thousands of shipments, it amounts to a lot more than what used to be smuggled in by the occasional business/tourist traveler or even bona-fide smugglers. The advent of cheap technology and transportation has now put the supplier and the purchaser in direct contact with each other.
3. Illegal tobacco is not the only beneficiary of this new mode of trade, it is just an “apparent” one, since Cuban cigars are legal almost every place else in the world, and placing a Cuban cigar internet service offshore would certainly be legal in almost any host nation except the U.S. Several other products are being traded in this mode, prescription drugs [without the prescription], illegal narcotics, firearms, even transactions involving women slavery, all safe behind firewalls and encryption devices. This with the middlemen/overhead eliminated between supplier and purchaser, and assisted by the USPS, Fedex, and other holes in the dike.
4. The above is not mine in origin, but it was "told" to me...ahem, if you know what I mean.
I wasn't talking about you, or anyone for that matter- just making a comment on the topic. I was poking fun at the end of myself at the end of my post.
I agree with the sentiment all good things come to those who wait. People are talking about price this, and price that... Common sense is the best medicine. Too cheap is bad, and too expensive is obviously bad.
There are local cigar shops that I go to, and I know I pay a little more for somethings there- but I don't mind since I like the owner, and I like his quality of cigars.