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Roll-you-own raids lead to fines

— A Colonie tobacconist is in hot water with the Department of Taxation and Finance over its roll-your-own cigarette business.

The department announced Cai Lin, of Tobacco House of EA, at 1892 Central Avenue, Colonie, pled guilty to “possessing quantities of pre-rolled, untaxed cigarettes that were to be offered to the general public for sale.” Lin turned over two roll-you-own machines, one point of sale computer, one vehicle and 140 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, authorities said, and agreed to pay $12,000 in taxes, penalties and fines.

The cigarette taxes were not prepaid, authorities said, allowing Lin to sell cigarettes for as low as $35 per carton. Lin was arrested as part of an April 24 raid.

Also arrested at that time was Zhuying Chen, of the Tobacco House of Juan, at Westgate Plaza, 911 Central Avenue, Albany. Chen also pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge. Chen forfeited two roll-your-own machines (each valued at $35,000 new), one point of sale computer, 117 cartons of untaxed cigarettes and $11,000 in cash. Chen also agreed to pay $12,000 in taxes, penalties and fines.

State Police, the Department of Homeland Security and local police agencies assisted the Tax Department in the undercover investigation.

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