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Bloomberg targets tobacco tax loopholes?

The city announced yesterday that it is suing a Manhattan smoke shopthat allows patrons to roll their own cigarettes, only days after aQueens man was arrested for allegedly selling thousands of counterfeit,untaxed cigarettes.

The city announced yesterday that it is suing a Manhattan smoke shop that allows patrons to roll their own cigarettes, only days after a Queens man was arrested for allegedly selling thousands of counterfeit, untaxed cigarettes.

New York has filed suit against Island Smokes, a Chinatown-based shop that city officials say evades cigarette taxes by providing customers with tobacco, rolling papers and access to machinery that rolls their cigarettes for them.

“They are trying to get around the law by claiming they’re not in the business of selling cigarettes when they clearly are,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Island Smokes argues that they don’t sell manufactured cigarettes and therefore cannot be taxed.

The suit comes after the Queens district attorney office filed charges against Abdus Shahed, 31, on Friday and confiscated 5,000 cartons of cigarette from his home in Woodside, Queens. Officials also found $96,000 in cash there. Nearly 2,000 of those cartons were counterfeit, officials said.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.