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Tax agents arrest 2, seize $46,000 worth of cigarettes as NY ramps up anti-smuggling effort

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NEW YORK — A state task force has seized $46,000 worth of cigarettes in Queens and Brooklyn. Two men are charged with trafficking and selling illegal tobacco products.

The Taxation and Finance Department's Cigarette Strike Force announced the arrests Monday.

It says Luciano Evaristo Hernandez-Fernandez had 160 cartons of untaxed cigarettes in a Brooklyn apartment. They say he also had 10,563 cigars, and more than 14,000 counterfeit cigarette tax stamps.

They say Difaa M. Saleh had 300 cartons of branded cigarettes in Queens that were tax-stamped in Virginia.

Both Brooklyn residents were released after brief court appearances. Attorneys for the men could not be reached.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo formed the task force of state, local and federal agencies this month.

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