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Eight people arrested for the sale of counterfeit cigars

Eight people were arrested in the culmination of a six-month investigation into the sale of counterfeit cigars, sold to the public as Cuban made.

The Miami-Dade Police Department, working in conjunction with the Florida Attorney General, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspector, seized more than $100,000 of counterfeit cigars and related items.

Police spokeswoman Nelda Fonticiella concerning the nature of the program: 'It was a network-type operation. Some owned the print shop that would print up the bands. The other ones were building the cigar boxes'.

Apparently the group obtained inexpensive cigars and then re-labeled and repackaged them to look like well-known Cuban brands such as Cohiba, H. Upmann, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and others.

Arraignment was held on charges of forging or counterfeiting trademarked labels and selling counterfeit goods.

Still to see whether Federal charges, in a follow-on suit, will be brought for the sale of goods purported to be of Cuban origin. Under the current regulations, since the cigars and the fake bands and boxes were apparently not of Cuban origin, it appears that such an action would not be covered in the U.S. trade embargo.

Source: El Buen Habano