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Press release from Business Wire

Philip Morris USA Sues Miami Retailers to Combat Counterfeit Cigarette Sales

Monday, June 20, 2011

Philip Morris USA Sues Miami Retailers to Combat Counterfeit Cigarette Sales11:51 EDT Monday, June 20, 2011 RICHMOND, Va. (Business Wire) -- Philip Morris USA (PM USA) filed a civil lawsuit on Friday against 17 retailers in the Miami area for selling counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes. This lawsuit is part of a multi-faceted campaign by PM USA aimed at combating the sale of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes in south Florida. “The sale of counterfeit cigarettes undermines Philip Morris USA's brands, defrauds adult smokers who believe they are purchasing genuine Marlboro® product and harms the legitimate channels through which our products are distributed and sold,” said Jose Luis Murillo, vice president and associate general counsel, Altria Client Services speaking on behalf of PM USA. “Selling counterfeit cigarettes is illegal, and we will take appropriate action to protect our brands, adult consumers and retailers. Philip Morris USA will continue to combat illicit cigarette sales by monitoring the market, supporting law enforcement investigations and pursuing litigation,” said Murillo. Counterfeit cigarettes are often manufactured in China in unregulated facilities and then smuggled into the U.S. and other countries around the world. Those who profit from the illegal distribution and sale of counterfeit cigarettes are often involved in other organized crimes, such as drug, weapons and human trafficking. These criminals range from small-time smugglers to organized crime and organizations with ties to terrorism. Counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes are also sold online through China-based websites. “The sale of counterfeit cigarettes is a developing issue in south Florida resulting in significant lost revenue for the state and Miami in a time when these funds are sorely needed,” added Murillo. According to PM USA market monitoring, there could be over one million packs of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes available annually in the Miami area, making it one of the top three areas in the U.S. for counterfeit cigarettes. Any consumer who suspects that they have purchased counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes should call the 1-800 number on the pack to report their purchase to PM USA. To avoid the unintentional sale of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes, retailers are encouraged to only purchase cigarettes from legitimate distributors. Philip Morris USA is an operating company of Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO). More information on PM USA and its policies and positions on tobacco issues is available at www.philipmorrisusa.com. Defendants     Store Name     Store Address     Buy Date(s)     Brand Purchased Latin Bakery, Inc.; Eduardo Fernandez       Latin Bakery     1275 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135     05/29/2011     MARLBORO® Palmar Cafeteria, Inc.; Clara Martinez       Palmar Cafeteria     6927 NW 77th Ave., Miami, FL 33166-2835     05/31/2011     MARLBORO® Woodland Investments, Inc.; Merida Vivas     Granada Liquors     4821 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33134     05/31/2011     MARLBORO® Robles Administration Corp.; Ramon Robles     12 Ave. Sunoco     641 NW 12th Ave., Miami, FL 33136     05/30/2011     MARLBORO® El Gran Shanghai Corp.; Heliodoro Hung     El Gran Shanghi     1225 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135     05/29/2011     MARLBORO® Fritanga Terrabona, Inc.; Aracelly Suarez     Las Palmas Fritauja     1100 E. 25th St., Hialeah, FL 33013     05/25/2011     MARLBORO® AFG Advance Corp.; Adel F. Garcia Jr.       AFG Advance Corp.     4401 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33134     05/29/2011     MARLBORO® Villa Dollar Discount, Corp.; Maria Borrero De Bayer     Villa Dollar Discount Corp.     1829 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135     05/30/2011     MARLBORO® D.G.L. Corporation; Alexis Gongora     DGL Super Cafeteria Restaurant     8248 W 8th Ave., Hialeah, FL 33014     05/27/2011     MARLBORO® GOLD Hellen's Dollar Discount, Inc.; Yamatsys Varona     Hellen's Dollar Discount, Inc.     1710 NW 7th St., Suite 1 Miami, FL 33125     05/26/2011     MARLBORO® GOLD Pranta Inc.; Mohammed F. Ahmed     Collins Food Market     7335 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33141     05/24/2011     MARLBORO® Almonte Enterprises, Inc.; Leonardo D. Almonte     71Street Liquor     211 71st St., Miami Beach, FL 33141     05/24/2011 05/26/2011     MARLBORO®; MARLBORO® GOLD Naser Food Market, Inc.; Naser A. Quraan     Naser Supermarket     5845 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137     05/31/2011     MARLBORO® CLY Minimarket Corp.; Liliana Perdomo     CLY Minimarket Corp.     600 NE 36th St., Miami, FL 33137     06/02/2011     MARLBORO® FAMA Discount & Dollar Store, Inc.; Juan U. Jimenez Robaina     FAMA Discount & Dollar Store     6783 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33144     06/03/2011     MARLBORO® L&I Café Corp.; Israel Salazar     Latin Café on the Beach     441 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, FL 33140     03/19/2011     MARLBORO® Tamiami Gas, Inc.; Angelina Flores     Tamiami Gas, Inc.     6401 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33144     01/11/2011     MARLBORO® Philip Morris USAMedia Relations, 804-484-8897