R+L Carriers avoids criminal charges in New York cigarette scheme

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 9/25/2013

One of the largest LTL trucking companies in North America has agreed to a deal to avoid criminal prosecution with four New York State district attorneys in an illegal cigarette trafficking case.

The agreement between R+L Carriers and the district attorneys of St. Lawrence, Franklin, Chautauqua and Suffolk counties was announced in a press release Tuesday, Sept. 25.

R+L Carriers, of Wilmington, Ohio, has agreed to adopt “significant new compliance measures” to avoid the transportation of illegally shipped cigarettes, according to a press release from St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, the company will pay $140,000 to the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society to be used for smoking prevention and cessation programs in four counties in which R+L transported or delivered shipments of cigarettes.

The charges stem from the 2012 seizure of two truckloads of untaxed cigarettes that were seized in St. Lawrence County. Prosecutors stipulated they will not bring criminal charges against the company if it agrees to make policy changes and abide by the agreement to refrain from shipping cigarettes that do not bear New York State tax stamps or ship to businesses that are not licensed and registered by the state as a wholesale or retail dealer. The state’s tax department maintains a website that allows anyone to check whether the delivery party is properly licensed or registered.

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