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Feds stub out big cig racket 

Jump to full article: New York Daily News, 2004-11-17
Author: ADAM LISBERG DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Intro:

Federal agents have seized tons of bootleg cigarettes at Kennedy Airport that were sent to New York from Switzerland as part of an illegal scheme to sell tax-free smokes, authorities said yesterday.

Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began confiscating the shipments of cigarettes bought over the Internet in the last few days, authorities said.

A law enforcement source said the scheme has cost the feds roughly $90million in taxes over the last three years.

The feds are sorting the cigarette shipments by their address labels - and smokers who hoped to get a deal instead could get a visit from the taxman, authorities said. . . .

But the feds were so overwhelmed by the quantity of illegal cigarettes coming in that they called the Swiss shipper behind the scam, Otamedia, and told it to stop sending the smokes, the source said. . . .

The city of New York won a $17.4million judgment against Otamedia last month for not paying city taxes.

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