Illinois Cracks Down on Cigarette Smuggling (video)

Bootleggers beware. A warning in Illinois promises anyone smuggling cigarettes will be punished. The problem is coming right over the border from Missouri, and Illinois officials worry it’s going to get worse.

Drivers coming into Illinois are being greeted with a warning. It’s a sign is on the Illinois side of the McKinley bridge in Vencie. It warns that cigarette smugglers will be punished with jail time, fines and vehicle seizures.

The problem is cigarettes are cheaper in Missouri, by more than a dollar a pack in some spots. So some smugglers are buying them in Missouri and then re-selling them in Illinois. That’s against the law.

The Illinois Department of Revenue fears the state is losing sales tax money because of the bootleggers. So the department hopes these warning signs will remind smugglers that bootlegging cigarettes is against the law, and there will be consequences.

In fact anyone bringing more than 1000 cigarettes across the border is subject to the penalties.

A department of revenue spokesman in Chicago says bootlegging has been an ongoing battle for the department.

He did not want to reveal the different ways his department goes after bootleggers, fearing the information would jeopardize their efforts to stop the smuggling.

The Illinois state police told us there have been bootlegging cases before, and they will continue to look for suspicious activity.


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