New York Seizes 460 Cartons of Illegal Smokes as U.S. Raids Rise

New York investigators seized 460 cartons of illegal cigarettes, part of a widening effort to crack down on smuggling and regain lost tax revenue.

The bounty, confiscated from two men, one in Brooklyn, the other in Queens, was valued at $46,000, according to a statement yesterday from the state Department of Taxation and Finance. That figure didn’t include the more than 10,000 cigars and 14,000 counterfeit tax stamps also recovered in the raid.

Some of the cigarette packs bore tax stamps from Virginia, where they cost more than $4 less. In the past year, lawmakers there and in Maryland boosted smuggling penalties, and the Massachusetts Commission on Illegal Tobacco released a report March 1 with recommendations to curb the trade.

In New York, the Tax Department’s Criminal Investigations Division has seized more than $600,000 in tobacco-related contraband and cash so far this year, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Esme E. Deprez in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at Mark Schoifet

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