Tuesday, April 1, 2014


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New strike force to crack down on illegal cigarette and tobacco trafficking and sales

ALBANY – A new Cigarette Strike Force to crack down on illegal tobacco trafficking and sales was announced on Monday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The multi-agency Strike Force is composed of state, local and federal agencies dedicated to stopping the influx of counterfeit and untaxed tobacco products into New York. The Strike Force also focuses on tracing any illicit financial earnings from that criminal activity.

“This new law enforcement strategy will help to crack down on these illegal cigarette sales and capture those smugglers who seek to evade the law and rob the state of the revenue it is rightly owed, thereby putting an additional burden on law-abiding taxpayers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Would-be traffickers are now on notice: They will be caught and they will be brought to justice.”

By combining resources, the members of the Strike Force will be able to both improve their database of crime-related intelligence and share critical information as the team works to disrupt and dismantle major trafficking organizations.

“We thank the local and federal law enforcement agencies who are partnering with us on this effort to eliminate illegal cigarette trafficking,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. 

The initiative will be coordinated and managed under the leadership of the Tax Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.  Michael Spinosa will serve as Chief Investigator to supervise the Strike Force.