This piece is intended in part as a word of caution to the TPRS foreign correspondent, my stepson Adam, just in case he has been getting any ideas about trying to bring back Cuban cigars from Mexico. I miss you, Adam, and I have no ambitions to be visiting you at a federal lockup. Being the smart sort that I know you are, I know that you'll find a souvenir for me that won't get you three years of guest privileges at a federal country club.
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A lawyer was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison for smuggling thousands of fine Cuban cigars into this country and selling them for a fat profit.
Richard "Mick" Connors, 54, was also fined $60,000 and placed on three years' probation....
Connors was convicted in 2002 of smuggling, trading with the enemy, conspiracy and lying to a passport officer.
Cuba has been under a U.S. trade embargo since the early 1960s.
Witnesses testified that in the early 1990s, as the cigar fad was building in the United States, Connors traveled to the communist island by way of Canada and Mexico almost monthly, bought cigars at $25 to $60 a box and sold them in the United States for up to $400 a box. He was arrested at the Canadian border in 1996 with 1,150 cigars.
U.S. citizens must have permission to visit Cuba. Authorized visitors may bring back $100 worth of goods including cigars for their own use but may not resell them in this country.
Granted, I don't know a thing about cigars. To me, they're only good for keeping mosquitoes at bay. In that respect, it doesn't matter if they're from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, or Iowa. Of course, my hatred of all things tobacco-related has blinded me to the relative "merits" of Cuban cigars. They all smell equally nasty, regardless of their country of origin. 'Nuff said....