Smuggling is the clandestine shipment of goods or persons to prevent taxation or some other impediment.
Smuggling, while having been an important part of galactic trade for many years, thrives in areas such as the Valcarian Empire. For the most part, this is due to the fact that there are many items which governments wish to control.
Anything, given the correct conditions, can be smuggled. In the Valcarian Empire the most commonly smuggled substance is spice. Although spice is a psychoactive drug and some forms are illegal under the Empire, their main concern is collecting the required taxes from its shipment and distribution. Along with illegal trade in spice, gunrunning forms most of the additional smuggling within the Empire. The Empire wants to control weapons availability in order to prevent criminals and insurgents from being well-armed. Other, rather popular 'cargos' for smugglers are, for example, high technology and drugs or medicines. In extreme situations, smugglers deliver to their clients even standard resources, or food or water. Some smugglers are specialized in finding rare and sometimes illegal goods or artifacts and delivering them to their clients without involving of any 'official means', as the smugglers called any authorities.
There are common stereotypes in various parts of the galaxy. For instance, in the Valcarian Empire it is that most of the Renaarans are smugglers. But the smuggling can be carried out by various freight carriers and criminal organizations. Such groups as Shadizaar establish large networks dedicated to evading the authorities. Some are even led by members of the bureaucracy, or the military establishment. Another major player in illegal trade are various species, such as the Atedas. Some planets are controlled by smugglers or smuggling operations, providing excellent locations to secretly funnel shipments, pilots, and supplies without arousing suspicion.
Common problems for smugglers
Smugglers have to worry about attacks from pirates and opportunists who liked to steal their cargo. This makes things even harder for the smugglers because it means they needed to avoid some of the more lawless systems as well as the authorities to remain safe. Also, because they are smuggling contraband and evading taxes, they have no hope of help from the authorities and can not seek their protection. Most of the smugglers develop keen skills to avoid any troubles, and they modify their ships not only for better cargo capacity, but also for greater speed and defences. In order to evade patrols, smugglers often use smaller and less well-known routes that generally skirt around heavily fortified areas within the galaxy. There are many of these smuggling routes, and every smuggler usually has his own preferred ways of getting from place to place safely. Nevertheless, many smugglers have ended their career on prison worlds. Many smugglers are also killed during their runs - some even commit suicide to avoid been arrested and sentenced.