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Fake Cigarette Peddler Crew Busted in DTLA

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Photo by courtney____ via Flickr
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Three men and one woman were arrested yesterday following the bust of two Downtown Los Angeles locations where hundreds of cartons of counterfeit cigarettes were being distributed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department executed the search warrants as a follow-up to previous arrests in East Los Angeles of people who were selling the smokes on the street.

The total haul for the LASD was 450 cartons of counterfeit tobacco, worth about $25,000, and 53 cartons of duty free tobacco with a total value of about $3,000.

Why are counterfeit cigs a worry? The LASD say that the danger is in the buyer not knowing that they are purchasing "inferior" product, produced without supervision by the health authorities. Plus there's that other concern: "The sales of counterfeit and duty free tobacco in California impose an estimated $ 182 million in lost tax revenue each year," note the LASD.