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Cars seized over packs of cigarettes


Revenue agents surveil Tennessee residents who buy cigarettes in neighboring states. Those found in possession of two cartons +1 pack will have their car confiscated.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announcing his plans for a smoke free Tennessee.Tennessee revenue agents will be watching, ready to accuse residents of the new crime of driving with 21 packs of cigarettes purchased across state lines. Those carrying just over two cartons of smokes in their car might lose their vehicle for good. The crackdown announced late last month is part of an effort to defend a July hike in the cigarette tax from 20 to 62 cents per pack from nearby states with much lower levies.

The net result is that Tennessee will confiscate and sell cars worth thousands or tens of thousands each over a claimed loss of tax revenue of $13.02. Cigar lovers likewise become criminals under the statute and face six months in jail if accused of driving with 51 cigars. A heavy smoker carrying a three-month supply — enough to evade an alleged $155.62 in cigarette tax — is guilty of a felony under the Tennessee law. The penalty, in addition to car confiscation, is up to six years in prison and an additional $3000 fine. Earlier this month Governor Phil Bredesen (D) embraced an official anti-cigarette policy to complement the confiscation program.

“It’s also a historic occasion as Tennessee becomes the first traditional tobacco state to enact such a comprehensive statewide smoking ban…”- Phil Bredesen

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SECURE website charts path for gang awareness, pro-active youth resources


Build it and they will come. Kevin Costner said those words in the modern film classic, Field of Dreams.

In Clarksville, a dedicated group of citizens, social activists and area ministers gathered together to build a program and tonight, when the doors finally opened, the people came.

S.E.C.U.R.E., the acronym for Safe and Effective Community Using Resources for Empowerment, is the brainchild of Pastor Tommy Vallejos, director of Hispanic Outreach for Progress and Education (HOPE) and former gang member.

Vallejos bears the internal and external scars of gang life: the 20+ year old tattoos he wants to strip from his skin and the ever-present heartfelt loss of more than 20 family members and friends to gang violence.

Vallejos was the perfect answer to a difficult problem.

“When the kids come here, they have to talk to me first. They have to listen. And we have a lot for them to do,” Vallejos said. «Read the rest of this article»

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