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DA asks for dismissal in felony untaxed cigarette charges against two men

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CANTON — Felony charges against two New York state men accused of transporting untaxed cigarettes were dismissed for lack of evidence Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Seth A. Snyder, 29, of Irving, and Andrew W. Munch, 21, of Dunkirk, had been charged with possession and transportation of 30,000 or more untaxed cigarettes. They were stopped on March 2, 2012, by state police in Waddington.

Attorneys representing the two men, who were not in court Monday, had filed motions seeking a dismissal of the indictments in furtherance of justice.

District Attorney Mary E. Rain told Judge Jerome J. Richards that after reviewing the case, she determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

“What I found was that the wrong defendants were charged,” Ms. Rain said. “The corporation should have been charged, not the driver and passenger. The people cannot prove the case without a reasonable doubt, and we’re asking the court to dismiss the case.”

Ms. Rain said her office would not be able to prove that the two men were transporting the unstamped cigarettes willfully.

“They were getting paid $10 an hour,” Ms. Rain said.

Ms. Rain added that while looking through the case file she had found evidence favorable to the defendants in the form of two emails, dated Aug. 14, 2012 — one from then-District Attorney Nicole M. Duve to the state Department of Taxation and Finance and one from former Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker to Ms. Duve.

“She indicated in the emails that the Mohawk tribe here was being singled out and local law enforcement was being unjust,” Ms. Rain said.

Ms. Rain said there was no way her office could have proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“There are all kinds of problems with this case. ... It’s a waste of taxpayers’ dollars and not justice when you go forward with trying a case you can’t prove,” she said.

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