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Feds: Man smuggled cigarettes from Mo. to Ill.

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[October 01, 2010]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The U.S. government has charged an alleged cigarette smuggling kingpin who is accused of illegally sending nearly 29 million cigarettes from Missouri to Illinois.

Court documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press say Ghalib Shahjamaluddin is accused of felony conspiracy charges. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported about the case.

Shahjamaluddin is accused of paying an undercover investigator $4.3 million for 144,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes. Missouri has the nation's lowest cigarette tax. The tax in Illinois is about six times higher.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates federal, state and local governments lose $5 billion annually in tax revenue from cigarettes sold through illegitimate channels.

[Associated Press; By JIM SUHR]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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