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May 16, 2013

Cigarette Smuggling Suspects May Have Ties to Terrorists

New York authorities have arrested 15 men accused of running a cigarette smuggling ring and say some of the suspects may have ties to Islamic militant groups.

Officials said Thursday the suspects allegedly smuggled more than one-million cartons of cigarettes from Virginia into New York, depriving the city and state of tax revenue.

They say despite the lucrative scheme, the suspects lived modestly, raising suspicions that they were sending the money elsewhere.

Authorities also say one of the suspects has ties to a blind cleric who helped plan a 1993 bomb blast in New York's World Trade Center. Another suspect is associated with a Lebanese immigrant jailed for killing a Jewish student in Brooklyn in 1994.

Investigators say they are working on tracking down the cigarette money.