Section 38A. Whenever the commissioner or a police officer discovers, in the possession of any person not being a stamper, licensed transportation company or one authorized by the commissioner, any cigarettes subject to tax under this chapter that do not have affixed to them the required Massachusetts stamps showing the payment of excise, or any smokeless tobacco on which tax has not been paid, he may seize and take possession of those cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, together with any vending machine or other receptacle, which shall include, without limitation, a motor vehicle, boat or airplane, in which the cigarettes or smokeless tobacco are contained or in which they are transported. The cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, vending machine or other receptacle seized by a police officer shall be turned over to the commissioner and shall be forfeited to the commonwealth. The commissioner shall destroy such cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and shall destroy or otherwise dispose of such vending machine or other receptacle. The commissioner may, within a reasonable time after the seizure, by a public notice at least 5 days before the day of sale, sell the vending machine or other receptacle at public sale and deposit the proceeds in the General Fund.