26 Jun 2012

American Samoa call to clamp down on cigarette smuggling

2:08 pm on 26 June 2012

American Samoa's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says anyone found importing cigarettes illegally should go to jail.

Faleomavaega is introducing federal legislation to help combat cigarette smuggling in the territory.

The legislation would make it illegal to knowingly ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute or purchase 10,000 or more contraband cigarettes that do not have a state or territorial tax stamp.

He says the act will also help plug the loss of excise revenues.

Faleomavaega also says some of the imitation cigarettes imported have been found to contain toxins.

"These are poisonous, these cigarettes are worse than the cigarettes that are being brought into the United States for the simple reason that the toxins and the chemicals and the things that are contained in these imitation cigarettes are terrible."

Faleomavaega says he hopes local officials are ware of this, and whoever is responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.