ATC Raid French Quarter Cigar Bar
The Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) and Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) raided a French Quarter cigar bar yesterday evening.
The raid was completed because the business, Smoke on the Water Cigar Bar, was found to be operating without a valid state tobacco permit, and for state tax violations.
Here is the press release:
After an undercover investigation by ATC and LDR, Riverside Cigars LLC, dba Smoke on the Water Cigar Bar, located at 510 Conti Street in New Orleans, it was determined that the business was illegally selling tobacco products. Previously, ATC denied the business, owned by
Daniel Hulsey and Scott Kazdan, both of Florida, a tobacco permit because it was illegally purchasing tobacco products from an unauthorized wholesaler, as required by law and excise taxes on those illegal tobacco products were not being remitted to LDR.
"When businesses don’t follow the law and pay their taxes, it creates an unfair advantage against all the good businesses," said LDR Secretary, Tim Barfield.
During the raid, store employee, Brian Lee Eastman, 56, was arrested and over 5,000 tobacco products were seized, valued at over $50,000, with some cigars priced as high as $100, per cigar.
"ATC has their sights on several other businesses operating outside the law in the Greater New Orleans area. In the end, they will find it cheaper just to do the right thing," said ATC Commissioner, Troy Hebert.
The case is still under investigation by both ATC and LDR.