The St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office has an agreement with an Ohio trucking company reached after an investigation into truckloads of untaxed cigarettes that were seized in the county early last year.
Then agreement, negotiated with St. Lawrence County DA Nicole Duvé and District Attorneys Derek Champagne of Franklin County, David Foley of Chautauqua County, and Thomas Spota of Suffolk County, requires Ohio-based trucker R + L Carriers to adopt significant new compliance measures to avoid further involvement in transport of illegally shipped cigarettes.
The company, which has earned revenue at the rate of a billion dollars a year, was among several companies that had been making massive shipments of untaxed cigarettes to various locations in New York State, according the DAs’ news release.
“The company’s newly adopted cigarette policy recognizes that New York law generally does not allow shipments of cigarettes to New York businesses that are not properly licensed or registered by the State, and does not allow shipments of cigarettes that do not bear New York State tax stamps,” said the news release.
The DAs have agreed not to bring any criminal prosecutions of R + L for its role in the shipments under investigation if the company fully complies with the terms of the agreement.
District Attorney Duvé said, “The bootlegging of contraband cigarettes is a major problem for state revenues and for public health, and it is gratifying to make some significant progress in enforcement.”
“There should be no confusion about illegal cigarette trafficking,” said Duvé. “The common carriers are on notice that they have certain obligations. So are the traffickers, despite claims that there have been unclear policies in the past. It is clear enough today that you face enforcement if you distribute cigarettes in New York in violation of state and federal statutes, no matter what brand and no matter where manufactured.”
In addition to adopting the extensive compliance procedures. R + L has agreed to cooperate with further investigations into illegal cigarette trafficking and to make $140,000 in payments to the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association for use in counties in which R + L transported or delivered illegal loads of cigarettes.
For their assistance in the investigation to date, Duvé thanked the United States Border Patrol, including Agents Daryl Zook and Matthew Miller; the New York State Police, including Troopers Jason West and Jeremiah Strickland and Investigators Timothy Peets and Jay Taylor; and state officials.
The investigation continues, the news release said.