Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act Law and Legal Definition

The Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act is a U.S. federal legislation that makes it unlawful for any person, other than an "exempt person," to ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute, or purchase "contraband cigarettes. The provisions of the Act are codified at 18 USCS §§ 2341 et seq.

18 USCS § 2341 defines contraband cigarettes as cigarettes that are in quantity in excess of 10,000 cigarettes, and which bear any evidence of the payment of applicable State or local cigarette taxes in the State or locality where such cigarettes are found, if the State or local government requires a stamp, impression, or other indication to be placed on packages or other containers of cigarettes to evidence payment of cigarette taxes, and which are in the possession of any person other than:

(A) a person holding a permit issued pursuant to chapter 52 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 [26 USCS §§ 5701 et seq.] as a manufacturer of tobacco products or as an export warehouse proprietor, or a person operating a customs bonded warehouse pursuant to section 311 or 555 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1311 or 1555) or an agent of such person;

(B) a common or contract carrier transporting the cigarettes involved under a proper bill of lading or freight bill which states the quantity, source, and destination of such cigarettes;

(C) a person--

(i) who is licensed or otherwise authorized by the State where the cigarettes are found to account for and pay cigarette taxes imposed by such State; and

(ii) who has complied with the accounting and payment requirements relating to such license or authorization with respect to the cigarettes involved; or

(D) an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States or a State, or any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States or a State (including any political subdivision of a State) having possession of such cigarettes in connection with the performance of official duties. Pursuant to 18 USCS § 2342, it is unlawful for any person knowingly to ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute, or purchase contraband cigarettes or contraband smokeless tobacco. The section further says that it is unlawful for any person knowingly to make any false statement or representation with respect to the information required by , 18 USCS §§ 2341 et seq. to be kept in the records of any person who ships, sells, or distributes any quantity of cigarettes in excess of 10,000 in a single transaction.

The Act also requires persons who ships, sells, or distributes any quantity of cigarettes in excess of 10,000, or any quantity of smokeless tobacco in excess of 500 single-unit consumer-sized cans or packages, in a single transaction to maintain such information about the shipment, receipt, sale, and distribution of cigarettes as the Attorney General may prescribe by rule or regulation. [18 USCS § 2343].