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Va. crime panel backs tougher penalties for cigarette trafficking

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Richmond, Va. (WTVR)--The commission also wants lawmakers to increase penalties for those caught trafficking cigarettes from Virginia to other states.

Last year, the General Assembly gave police the right to pull over and ticket drivers with too many cigarettes in their car.

“If you were convicted of a second offense…the next time would be charged as a felony,” Del. Manoli Loupassi said.

Virginia has the second lowest cigarette tax in the country. Police say that attracts crime groups from as far away as New York because they can make bigger profits transporting cigarettes than they could with most illegal drugs.

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