Last week, 30,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes were seized by investigators in Brooklyn. The cigarettes were taken from a warehouse in Borough Park and are worth an estimated $4.5 million on the street. The operation was part of a six-month investigation, and one arrest was made.
Yin Haun Zhao has been accused of second degree trademark counterfeiting and attempting to evade or defeat cigarette and tobacco products tax. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes says the cigarettes were phony versions of popular brands like Camel and Marlboro. Hynes notes that while smoking cigarettes is already horrible for you, smoking counterfeit cigarettes is even worse.
In addition, selling that much of a product untaxed would severely damage the city's economy. Gothamist says that the $4.5 million worth of cigarettes would have generated $1.8 million worth of tax revenue if they were sold legally.