• Gov. Cuomo's Crackdown On Crooked Indian Cigarette Dealers Off To Good Start
  • Gov. Cuomo is, at long last, cracking down on rampant tax evasion by Indian cigarette dealers. New York's tolerance for this criminality appears over.

    Since June 21, when a court injunction against enforcement was lifted, state and federal agents have been staking out buttleggers, pulling over trucks and seizing contraband. But judging by the very modest results so far, it's way too early to declare victory.

    By some credible estimates, tax-dodging Indian smoke cigarettes shops account for a quarter of all tobacco sales in New York State - which translates to more than 4 billion online cigarettes a year.

    Against a torrent that vast, the 19,744 cartons of untaxed buy cigarettes recovered over the past three weeks amount to the merest drop in the bucket.

    It's also a good sign that cigarette tax revenues ticked up by $14 million in June, signaling that some bodegas and other retailers have stopped doing business with the Indians.

    But that still leaves the city and state hundreds of millions short of what they're rightfully owed.

    It's also troubling to hear Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy say enforcement is focused on buttlegging of brand-name smokes, when Indian-manufactured cigarettes online represent a growing share of the market.

    Cuomo needs to enforce tax laws on all forms of tobacco, or wholesale tax-dodging is sure to continue. He's off to a good start.