Investigators find cigarettes without tax stamp

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mississippi Auditor Stacey Pickering says investigators have found a warehouse in the state with about 1 million cartons of contraband cigarettes and small cigars.

No arrests have been made, and Pickering won’t disclose the warehouse location.

Investigators from the auditor’s office and the State Tax Commission secured the site and its contents Tuesday.

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Pickering said Wednesday the cigarettes and cigars are contraband because they don’t have a state tax stamp. Tobacco products are required to get the stamp within 72 hours.

He says investigators are trying to determine where the cigarettes were to be sold. He estimates the state would lose $1.5 million in tax collections and the federal government would lose $8 million.