By John M. Annese, Staten Island Advance
The pain of rising cigarette prices has meant profit for some entrepreneurs on Staten Island willing to break the law to make a buck.
As a recent police sweep at St. George Ferry Terminal highlighted earlier this month, shady merchants have taken to selling loose cigarettes and cheap packs of smokes — all without the bother and extra cost of a state tax stamp.
New tax laws from last June have spiked the price of cigarettes to anywhere from $11 to $14 a pack, but bootleggers are charging $5 for a pack of Newports and, in some cases, 75 cents for a “loosie” — a single smoke.
A SHOPKEEPER has been fined after more than 14,000 counterfeit cigarettes were seized in a flat above a Coventry store.
Mustafa Abdulla, of CP Supermarket, in Humber Avenue, Stoke, was fined almost £4,000 at Coventry Magistrates Court.
Abdulla, who pleaded guilty, was first challenged by trading standards officers during a routine visit to the store where they found five packets of illegal cigarettes were found behind the shop counter.
Another 25 packets of illegal fruit-flavoured tobacco were seized from the store room at the back of the premises.
From: The Star Online (Malaysia)
MALACCA: The Health Ministry will work with the Customs Department to wage an all-out war on the sale of illicit cigarettes in the country.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the government was concerned over the wide distribution of counterfeit cigarette that could lead to health complications.
Over 38% of Malaysians are now opting for illicit cigarette due to its low pricing without considering the harm smoking can cause, he said here yesterday.
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The first person indicted under a federal anti-terrorism law adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for attempting to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles into the United States from his native China.
Yi Qing Chen of Rosemead was convicted in October of attempting to ship the shoulder-fired QW2 missiles as well as launch and operational hardware to a man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. He was arrested in 2005 before the missiles could be delivered.
By DAVID B. CARUSO Bloomberg
New Yorkers hoping to avoid the nation’s highest cigarette taxes have long turned to the Internet as a source for cheap smokes, but few bought as often, or as much, as Roza Budansky, according to city officials.
Over a three-year period, the 64-year-old purchased nearly $1 million worth of untaxed cigarettes from an Internet retailer in Louisville, Ky., said a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the City of New York. In total, some 32,232 cartons were shipped to her modest apartment in Brooklyn, the suit claimed.
RETAILERS are concerned new laws mandating plain cigarette packaging will hurt business but anti-smoking groups say the changes are necessary.
Kristina Cowen owns two newsagencies in the city and said ordering and serving with identical packs would be difficult.
“It’s very unnecessary, given that they already go undercover, and just adds to the pressure of serving customers in a timely fashion,” Ms Cowen said.
She said the extra time serving would impact on her bottom line.
Team leader of tobacco programs at Cancer Council Queensland Rachel Hull said the packaging was a still key way tobacco companies marketed to smokers.
Source: Ghanaian Chronicle
A JOINT GHANAIAN police and Interpol operation dubbed ‘Operation Atlantic’ has led to the arrest of 16 persons for allegedly engaging in intellectual property offences, running into several thousands of Ghana Cedis, with four suspects currently on the run.
However, all the 16 suspects, according to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Prosper Kwame Agblor, have been granted police enquiry bail, explaining that the nature of the purported crime did not warrant their detention for more than the specified 48 hours.
By Ben Finley, staff writer Calkins Media, Inc.
Northampton – Eugene Grinberg got his cigarettes from China.
Ordering online, he bought knock-off versions of Newport – tax-free – for $17 to $19 a carton.
Once they arrived at his Northampton home, he’d smoke some and sell the rest to friends and acquaintances for $35 to $40. (Real cartons of Newport cigarettes sell legally for $60.)
On Tuesday, Grinberg, 30, paid dearly for those smokes. A Bucks County judge sentenced him to 2 1/2 to five years in prison for possessing and selling untaxed and counterfeit cigarettes.