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Michigan Man Pleads Guilty In Cigarette Trafficking Scheme

BARAGA, Mich. (AP) - An Upper Peninsula man accused of large-scale cigarette trafficking has pleaded guilty in Detroit federal court.

John Varline admitted buying more than 300,000 cigarettes from an undercover agent in 2009. The cigarettes were shipped from Nevada and were illegal because they didn't bear a stamp confirming that Michigan's $2-a-pack tax had been paid.

Varline appeared in court Thursday. He'll likely face a sentence of 10 months in prison when he returns on June 16.

Starting in 2006, agents have been investigating cigarette trafficking by several people associated with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and a store on the reservation, Keweenaw Bay Outfitters. Varline operated the store in Baraga.

An indictment against Varline says untaxed cigarettes were sold at the store and elsewhere across the U.S.

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