04/02/2003

NYC Police Seize 97,000 Packs of Illegal Cigarettes

NEW YORK (AP) -- Three people were arrested and 97,000 packs of fake cigarettes were seized when authorities busted a counterfeiting operation, police said Monday.

The three people "tried to make money selling cases of cigarettes marked with counterfeit tax stamps," police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The 194 cases of cigarettes had a street value of $727,500, police said.

The three were charged with trademark counterfeiting, forgery and possession of illegal cigarettes and counterfeit tax stamps.

City and state taxes have lifted the price of a pack of cigarettes to around $7 in New York, among the highest in the nation.

Police also seized $2,214 in cash in the bust, which occurred Friday.

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