Governor Cuomo today announced that the New York State Cigarette Strike Force seized more than $6.6 million worth of contraband tobacco in 2017, a $1 million increase compared to 2016.  Untaxed cigars made up a bulk of the confiscations; 1.5 million illegal cigars in 2017 compared to 260,000 last year.

The 2017 seizures also included 47,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, 134,000 counterfeit tax stamps and nearly $445,000 in cash.  "This illicit activity not only hurts law-abiding businesses but also places undue burdens on taxpayers due to the loss of state revenue for vital services" said Cuomo.

The cigarette Strike Force was created in 2014 to stem illegal tobacco trafficking and sales.  The State Tax Department works with the State Gaming Commission and the State Liquor Authority to pursue tobacco-licensed retailers that possess untaxed cigars and/or cigarettes that result in immediate enforcement action, leading to the possible suspension or revocation of licenses to sell tobacco, alcohol, or lottery tickets.