A federal investigation is looking at cigarette smugglers who are taking millions of cigarettes from Missouri into Illinois. One man is in custody. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it has learned undercover investigators have infiltrated the smuggling ring that buys cigarettes in Missouri, which has the lowest cigarette taxes in the country, and takes them to the Chicago area where they’re sold with fake tax stamps or out-of-state tax stamps. A federal indictment against the first person arrested says he paid $4.3-milion for about 144,000 cartons of cigarettes within the last year and took them to Illinois.
The Illinois cigarette tax is 98 cents. Missouri’s tax is only 17 cents.