More than 12,200 cartons of untaxed cigarettes — or 2.4 million individual cigarettes - were also confiscated by the group of 12 state, federal and local authorities. Credit: NYS Department of Taxation and Finance
Within less than a year, New York state officials said the special task force charged with cracking down on illegal sales of cigarettes and tobacco seized almost $1.7 million in cash and contraband.
More than 12,200 cartons of untaxed cigarettes — or 2.4 million individual cigarettes - were also confiscated by the group of 12 state, federal and local authorities.
A pack of 20 cigarettes can go for about $14 dollars in New York City, and that's including a $4.35 state tax and a $1.50 city tax.
"Cigarette smugglers should be on notice – our administration will not stand for those who break the law and steal from taxpayers," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. His administration announced the creation of the task force in March.
The combined agencies also reported confiscating more than 254,800 cigars, 2,000 pounds of loose tobacco and 24,770 counterfeit stamps that unlawfully indicate the pack was taxed.
Currently, those found to market in illegal cigarettes and tobacco can face a fine of at least $600 per carton, as well as potential criminal charges.
Any proceeds from those confiscated assets will be shared between the 12 members of the task force, which include the Manhattan and Staten Island district attorney offices.
Last month, the group came down on one the state's largest operations, seizing more than 3,200 cigarette cartons and $131,763 cash in a Brooklyn stash house and safety deposit boxes.
A few months earlier, state authorities also recovered more than 900 cartons of cigarettes in a Bronx warehouse.