1. It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in the business of selling cigarettes to ship or cause to be shipped any cigarettes to any person in this state who is not: (a) a person licensed as a cigarette tax agent or wholesale dealer under article twenty of the tax law or registered retail dealer under section four hundred eighty-a of the tax law ; (b) an export warehouse proprietor pursuant to chapter 52 of the internal revenue code 1 or an operator of a customs bonded warehouse pursuant to section 1311 or 1555 of title 19 of the United States Code ; or (c) a person who is an officer, employee or agent of the United States government, this state or a department, agency, instrumentality or political subdivision of the United States or this state and presents himself or herself as such, when such person is acting in accordance with his or her official duties. For purposes of this subdivision, a person is a licensed or registered agent or dealer described in paragraph (a) of this subdivision if his or her name appears on a list of licensed or registered agents or dealers published by the department of taxation and finance, or if such person is licensed or registered as an agent or dealer under article twenty of the tax law.
2. It shall be unlawful for any common or contract carrier to knowingly transport cigarettes to any person in this state reasonably believed by such carrier to be other than a person described in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subdivision one of this section. For purposes of the preceding sentence, if cigarettes are transported to a home or residence, it shall be presumed that the common or contract carrier knew that such person was not a person described in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subdivision one of this section. It shall be unlawful for any other person to knowingly transport cigarettes to any person in this state, other than to a person described in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subdivision one of this section. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a person other than a common or contract carrier from transporting not more than eight hundred cigarettes at any one time to any person in this state.
3. When a person engaged in the business of selling cigarettes ships or causes to be shipped any cigarettes to any person in this state, other than in the cigarette manufacturer's original container or wrapping, the container or wrapping must be plainly and visibly marked with the word “cigarettes”.
4. Whenever a police officer designated in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law or a peace officer designated in subdivision four of section 2.10 of such law, acting pursuant to his or her special duties, shall discover any cigarettes which have been or which are being shipped or transported in violation of this section, such person is hereby empowered and authorized to seize and take possession of such cigarettes, and such cigarettes shall be subject to a forfeiture action pursuant to the procedures provided for in article thirteen-A of the civil practice law and rules, as if such article specifically provided for forfeiture of cigarettes seized pursuant to this section as a pre-conviction forfeiture crime.
5. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision one or two of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and for a second or subsequent violation shall be guilty of a class E felony. In addition to the criminal penalty, any person who violates the provisions of subdivision one, two or three of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed the greater of (a) five thousand dollars for each such violation; or (b) one hundred dollars for each pack of cigarettes shipped, caused to be shipped or transported in violation of such subdivision.
6. The attorney general may bring an action to recover the civil penalties provided by subdivision five of this section and for such other relief as may be deemed necessary. In addition, the corporation counsel of any political subdivision that imposes a tax on cigarettes may bring an action to recover the civil penalties provided by subdivision five of this section and for such other relief as may be deemed necessary with respect to any cigarettes shipped, caused to be shipped or transported in violation of this section to any person located within such political subdivision. All civil penalties obtained in any such action shall be retained by the state or political subdivision bringing such action, provided that no person shall be required to pay civil penalties to both the state and a political subdivision with respect to the same violation of this section.
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