MSP Conducts State-Wide Tobacco Tax Inspections - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

MSP Conducts State-Wide Tobacco Tax Inspections

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Michigan State Police conducted a state-wide tobacco tax inspection in January and found a little more than what they were looking for.

After checking more than 250 party stores, gas stations and smoke shops, they seized nearly $300,000 worth of illegal tobacco and illegal non-tobacco products.

Police said a majority of stores they searched were in compliance with the Michigan Tobacco Products Tax Act, however, there were at least four in the Lansing-area that are suspected of doing more than that.

"The result of the Lansing-area inspections was several tobacco tax violations and other violations that included counterfeit clothing and some liquor and bridge card violations as well," said MSP Inspector Bonnie Kanicki.

Investigators say they found 196 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes, 580 imitation sports team hats, and 69 fake brand-name clothing items for a retail value of nearly $45,000 at one Lansing-area store.

They also found nearly 300 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes and 21 pairs of fake Louis Vuitton shoes with a retail value of about $30,000 at another shop.

One of the most interesting state-wide confiscations was a medical marijuana dispensary vending machine inside a smoke shop in the Upper Peninsula.

Under Michigan law, it's a violation to possess acquire, transport or sell any quantity of untaxed tobacco unless properly licensed.

"Michigan loses untold millions of dollars of potential revenue due to this fraud," said Kanicki. "It's important that we hold business owners accountable and seek compliance to rules and regulations."

That's why MSP, the Michigan Department of Treasury, and the Michigan Attorney General's Office are all working together to battle these crimes.

Anyone with information on retailers violating the act are encouraged to contact the MSP Tobacco Tax Enforcement Team at 734-525-4246.

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