Local company guilty of transporting contraband cigarettes

This file photo shows packs of cigarettes (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A southern tier company must pay up to $1 million in fines, forfeiture and restitution after pleading guilty in federal court in Kansas City to conspiring to transport contraband cigarettes from Missouri.

AJ’s Candy & Tobacco of Irving, N.Y., agreed Thursday to forfeit $221,550 and pay a fine of $243,400. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the court may also order the company to pay an additional $535,050 in restitution to the state of New York for excise tax it lost in the scheme.

A federal indictment says conspirators bought more than $17 million worth of contraband cigarettes from Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents during an undercover sting.

Officials say roughly 620,000 cartons of cigarettes were transported to New York without paying the state’s $4.35 per pack excise tax.

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