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Lawmakers eye stiffer penalties for cigarette smuggling

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(AP) — House lawmakers are considering a bill aimed at cracking down on cigarette smugglers in Delaware.

The legislation, which passed the Senate last year, makes it a felony to traffic in cigarettes that are not taxed in Delaware.

The current maximum penalty for selling or possessing untaxed cigarettes is a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

Lawmakers say that is not enough to deter traffickers who move black-market cigarettes from low tax states to be sold in higher tax states.

Delaware currently allows a person to bring in no more than nine packs of cigarettes from another state without penalty.

While stiffening the penalties for smuggling, the bill, scheduled for consideration in a House committee Wednesday, would allow a person to bring in up to 20 packs from another state.

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