(a) 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 special duties, shall discover any tobacco products in excess of five hundred cigars or ten pounds of tobacco which are being imported for sale in the state where the person importing or causing such tobacco products to be imported has not been appointed as a distributor pursuant to section four hundred seventy-two of this chapter, such police officer or peace officer is hereby authorized and empowered forthwith to seize and take possession of such tobacco products. Such tobacco products seized by a police officer or peace officer shall be turned over to the commissioner. Such seized tobacco products shall be forfeited to the state. All tobacco products forfeited to the state shall be destroyed or used for law enforcement purposes, except that tobacco products that violate, or are suspected of violating, federal trademark laws or import laws shall not be used for law enforcement purposes. If the commissioner determines the tobacco products may not be used for law enforcement purposes, the commissioner must, within a reasonable time thereafter, upon publication in the state registry of a notice to such effect before the day of destruction, destroy such forfeited tobacco products. The commissioner may, prior to any destruction of tobacco products, permit the true holder of the trademark rights in the tobacco products to inspect such forfeited products in order to assist in any investigation regarding such tobacco products.
(a-1) 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 the criminal procedure law , acting pursuant to his or her special duties, discovers any roll-your-own tobacco that is in violation of section four hundred eighty-c of this chapter, the officer is authorized and empowered to seize and take possession of the roll-your-own tobacco, and the roll-your-own tobacco is subject to a forfeiture action under the procedures provided for in article thirteen-A of the civil practice law and rules, as if that article specifically provided for forfeiture of roll-your-own tobacco seized under this section as a preconviction forfeiture crime. Subdivisions (b) and (c) of this section do not apply to roll-your-own tobacco seized pursuant to this subdivision.
(b) In the alternative, the commissioner, on reasonable notice by mail or otherwise, may permit the person from whom said tobacco products were seized to redeem the said tobacco products by the payment of the tax due, plus a penalty of fifty per centum thereof, plus interest on the amount of tax due for each month or fraction thereof after such tax became due (determined without regard to any extension of time for filing or paying) at the rate applicable under subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section four hundred eighty-one of this chapter and the costs incurred in such proceeding, which total payment shall not be less than five dollars; provided, however, that such seizure and sale or redemption shall not be deemed to relieve any person from fine or imprisonment provided for in this article for violation of any provision of article twenty of this chapter.
(c) In the alternative, the commissioner may dispose of any tobacco products seized pursuant to this section, except those that violate, or are suspected of violating, federal trademark or import laws, by transferring them to the department of corrections and community supervision for sale to or use by inmates in such institutions.
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