Queens DA Richard Brown: 12 Charged With Smuggling And Selling Untaxed Cigarettes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In “Operation Smokeout,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown seized over 4,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes in just three months. The cigarettes were apparently smuggled in from overseas and some Southern states.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: One man was caught at the airport with suitcases full of cigarettes

Brown explained that millions are lost in tax revenue. Cartons go from $12 to $14 a piece but Brown said the smuggled cigarettes go for half that amount.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports: Most Of The Cigarettes Were Smuggled Into JFK From Places Like Uzbekistan And Korea

img 51151 Queens DA Richard Brown: 12 Charged With Smuggling And Selling Untaxed Cigarettes

Cartons of cigarettes seized in Operation Smokeout, April 21, 2011 (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Brown said 12 defendants shortchanged the state by nearly $300,000.

A special unit has been put in place to handle tax avoidance schemes.

Meanwhile, New York City has filed a federal lawsuit accusing 32 people of evading millions of dollars in cigarette taxes by buying heaps of cartons over the Internet, and then reselling them on the black market.

The suit takes aim at city residents who bought cigarettes from Chavez Inc., a Kentucky company that was raided and effectively shuttered by federal agents in late 2009.

The defendants include one woman accused of having nearly $1 million worth of cigarettes shipped to her Brooklyn apartment over three years — about 32,000 cartons.

The city is seeking $6.5 million in unpaid taxes from Chavez Inc. and the other defendants, plus another $13 million in penalties.

Lawyers for Chavez have said the company was not legally obligated to collect taxes on out-of-state sales.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


More from Marla Diamond
  • jeff1969

    the cost of cigareetes 12 to 14 dollars per pack only causes the propagation of organized crime, the closing of otb caused the propagaion of gambling in organized crime, the unresticted growth of massage parlos, escorts, prostitutes only caused the propagation of organized crime, the fact that drugs are illegal only has caused a propagation in organized crime, and last, i guarantee tha by the end of 2011 nyc, nys will impose a huge tax on beer wine and alcohol, which will caused only a propagation in organized crime…

  • marx engels

    Don’t Steal – the government hates competition

  • The Facts

    Packs go from 12 to 14, not cartons.

  • danny

    I thought the thieves were going to use the money from the cigarette tax to help pay for medical insurance? Racketeering, check. Money laundering, check. Loans for other thieves, check.
    The Gov is the biggest mobsters in the world!

  • jerseyjoey

    If you greedy Gov bloodsuckers didnt tax or shall i say Steal ismore like it, guess what you would not have such problems and expense would you. You get what you sew and reap the misery. Broken gov = legal stealing. Next they will be enslaving your first born.

    • JerseyPete

      Indeed. The cigarettes up here are over-taxed. What do they expect people to do? Tax evasion and smuggling is a very American thing to do since day 1.

      /just quit but still enjoys the smell

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