The Markalians operate a highly elusive smuggling cartel that is known for its ability to smuggle weapons, curren-cy, pharmaceuticals, and hazardous bio-matter to various black market outlets across hundreds of light-years of space. However, these activities act as an invisible corner-stone to many 'clean' economies, and, if removed or disturbed, could affect the market stability of the whole quadrant. The authorities know this, and it is for such a reason that they turn a blind eye to many of the Smuggling Cartel's activities, deciding they are better off in the long-run taking what benefits there are to be had, than by closing the Cartel down and bringing it to justice.
The Smuggling Cartel is at its most productive when autonomously run; however, this 'official' facade to the greater operation at least guarantees that there are some profitable returns to be had, rather than squandered in further unauthorized illegal dealings. Now, some level of control and authority is maintained over the cartel.