Zoeller takes care of contraband cigarettes

By Keith Loria | Jul 15, 2009


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline)- Thanks to a consent agreement from a lawsuit headed by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, more than 11 million cigarettes have been destroyed or shipped out of state.

The case derived from an Indiana Department of Revenue audit and inspection of a warehouse owned by G.T. Northeast Inc. of Sellersburg, Ind., in Sept. 2007, where 55,039 cartons (555,390 packs or 11,007,800 cigarettes) of six brands prohibited for sale in the state were discovered.

Beyond the seized inventory, sales records indicated that G.T. Northeast had previously sold $2,334,000 in contraband cigarettes between Jan. 2006-Aug. 2007.

"Storing these contraband cigarettes in Indiana violated the Master Settlement Agreement that the tobacco industry signed when it agreed to change its marketing tactics," the Republican attorney general said.

"Fortunately, this particular distributor cooperated with the investigation and has agreed to a fair resolution to the case."

G.T. Northeast notes that the company mistakenly interpreted the law to permit the storage of the cigarettes in Indiana since they were to be sold elsewhere. The consent agreement calls for half of those 11 million cigarettes to be destroyed and the other half to be moved out of state.

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