Posted by: audreybenenati | March 24, 2010

Congress tries to stamp out tobacco smugglers

By JIM ABRAMS (AP) – 6 days ago

WASHINGTON — Congress has moved to stamp out a multibillion-dollar tobacco trafficking industry that has enriched criminals and terrorists and made it easier for kids to buy cigarettes online.

A bill cracking down on smugglers cleared the House Wednesday and went to President Barack Obama for his signature. The measure could restore significant amounts of revenue lost to states because cigarette taxes are not being paid.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said New York alone loses as much as $1 billion a year from cigarette tax evasion. Weiner sponsored the measure with Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

The legislation, approved on a 387-25 vote, would prohibit cigarette shipments through the U.S. Postal Service, cutting off the main source of transport for Internet vendors selling contraband tobacco products. UPS, DHL and FedEx already have agreements with the New York Attorney General not to ship cigarettes nationwide.

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