ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a special task force created to crack down on illegal tobacco has seized more than $6 million worth of contraband cigarettes and cigars this year.
The Democrat announced Tuesday that the $6.6 million seized in 2017 is $1 million more than what authorities hauled in last year.
The contraband included more than 1.5 million illegal cigars and 47,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes. The state’s Cigarette Strike Force also seized 134,000 counterfeit tax stamps and nearly $445,000 in cash.
Cuomo says the crackdown resulted in the arrests of 85 cigarette and tobacco smugglers who face more than $7 million in fines.
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The governor directed the state Tax Department in 2014 to create the strike force to focus on illegal tobacco smuggling and sales.