1975 ushered in a new era in cigarette-crime fighting when the Interstate Revenue Research Center was created to study and coordinate anti-bootlegging efforts. A $788,500 grant from the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and a $17,500 contribution from each member state provided the funds. The original member states were Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota and Illinois. Missouri and Florida joined later, and a similar group was formed on the East Coast.

The IRRC's objectives were described as, "The reduction, elimination, or neutralization of systems which directly or indirectly support the illegal trafficking and sales of cigarettes within the jurisdictional boundaries of our membership states."[70] The group was a "service organization" with no law enforcement powers.[71] It collected information and facilitated the exchange of information among the member states, made recommendations to states and "conduct[ed] 'tactical' operations in source states, using informants, sophisticated equipment and vehicles, and surveil[led] smugglers into the home states of the group." [72]

The IRRC also pushed for federal involvement in fighting cigarette crime, including federal legislation and federal prosecution of "wholesalers who conspired with smugglers."[73] The group took credit for returning $300,000 to its members through the sale of contraband and collected cigarette taxes in its first few months. [74]

The creation of the IRRC represented a new, more aggressive plan of attack on cigarette-related crime, but it anticipated a real challenge:

Most assuredly, cigarette smuggling is a multi-million-dollar-a-year enterprise. It is a wide open ball game with a great variety of players who possess talents and capabilities ranging from the weekend players with their campers and cars to the management level personalities who manipulate large volume shipments on an interstate basis. The Interstate Revenue Research Center is devoting a percentage of its time to each segment of this spectrum.[75]

[70] "Interstate Revenue Research Center," 49th Annual Meetings, 24.

[71] Ibid., 25.

[72] "Committee on Cigarette Tax Evasion," Proceedings from the 50th Annual Meetings of the National Tobacco Tax Association (Chicago: Federation of Tax Administrators, 1976), 12.

[73] "Reports of the Regional Governors – Central Region," 97.

[74] George F. Stewart, "Cooperative Efforts Against Bootlegging in the Midwest," Proceedings from the 50th Annual Meetings of the National Tobacco Tax Association, (Chicago: Federation of Tax Administrators, 1976), 76.

[75] "The Interstate Revenue Research Center," 49th Annual Meetings, 25.