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Cigarette Smugglers Sentenced

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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News)  – Two Illinois men will be on probation for five years and have been ordered to pay over $74,000 in restitution to the State of Minnesota for smuggling cigarettes.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Revenue say the Washington County Attorney has cut plea agreements with the two men, who were arrested last year in what was described as the largest known seizure of untaxed tobacco products in state history. A State Trooper making a traffic stop in the Twin Cities found them in a truck that was hauling over $78,000 worth of untaxed tobacco products. The $74,000 dollar restitution represents the amount of unpaid taxes on the shipment.

“The department works closely with licensed tobacco wholesalers to gain information about possible smuggled tobacco products to prevent that contraband product from entering the marketplace. Smuggled tobacco creates an unfair advantage for businesses that do not follow the law,” said Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly.

The illegal cigarettes and other products were discovered last June after a trooper stopped the truck because the driver failed to stop for an open weigh station on I-94 near the Wisconsin border and the two occupants were not using seatbelts.

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