ALBANY — State investigators seized a document $6.6 million price of contraband tobacco merchandise in 2017, a $1 million improve from a 12 months in the past, Gov. Cuomo introduced Tuesday.
The seizures, a part of a stepped up tobacco enforcement effort first launched by Cuomo in 2014, included greater than 1.5 million unlawful cigars, up from 260,000 in 2016.
Investigators additionally arrested 85 accused cigarette and tobacco smugglers in the course of the 12 months and seized greater than 47,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes. Additionally they seized 134,000 counterfeit tax stamps and practically $445,000 in money.
“This illicit exercise not solely hurts regulation abiding companies, nevertheless it additionally locations undue burdens on taxpayers as a result of lack of state income for important providers,” Cuomo mentioned.
In 2014, Cuomo ordered the state Division of Taxation and Finance to create a “Cigarette Strike Power” to crack down on unlawful tobacco trafficking and gross sales. Annually because it was launched, the hassle has elevated each inspections of outlets and product seizures.
The group’s largest achievements in 2017 included the seizure of greater than 2,700 cartons of untaxed cigarettes discovered stashed in a automotive inside a Brooklyn storage, the arrest of a Staten Islander who had greater than 1,000 cartons of unlawful cigarettes in his automotive, and the break-up of a cigarette smuggling ring within the Bronx that led to 21 indictments and the seizure of three properties and 10,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes.
All cigarette packs bought in New York will need to have a licensed New York State cigarette tax stamp affixed to the underside, verifying that the excise taxes have been paid.
State officers additionally introduced earlier this 12 months that any retailer caught promoting unlawful tobacco merchandise jeopardized not solely their license to promote tobacco however their capability to promote alcohol and lottery tickets as effectively.
There are roughly 21,000 licensed tobacco retailers within the state and most additionally promote lottery tickets and liquor.