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May-15-2007 13:48printcomments

ATF Serves Warrants on Smokeshops in Oregon and Washington

ATF partners with Washington and Oregon state agencies to crackdown on illegal cigarette trafficking.

Cigarette being lit

(SEATTLE, Wash.) - Seven Federal search warrants were simultaneously served today throughout the states of Washington and Oregon regarding the illegal trafficking of cigarettes, says Special Agent in Charge Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Six of the warrants were at businesses, residences and a warehouse throughout Washington and one secondary warehouse was located in Clackamas, Oregon.

“Many consider cigarette trafficking a victimless crime. For tribes with Compact Agreements it takes away money that would go directly to the tribe. For tribes without Compact Agreements, the victims are the residents of Washington who receive government services,” says Pat Parmer, Chief, Washington State Liquor Control Board Tobacco Tax Unit.

“Non-tribal businesses deserve to compete on a fair playing field; even other tribes lawfully selling cigarettes have asked for increased enforcement of illegal cigarette trafficking,” says Crenshaw.

No arrests were made, and the investigation continues.

The Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act is designed to piggyback on the state laws, and give authority to Federal agents to investigate this type of crime.

This is a joint investigation between ATF, Washington State Liquor Control Board Tobacco Tax Unit, Oregon Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

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