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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Officers Seize Nearly $173K in Untaxed Tobacco Products


ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his Field Enforcement Division (FED) assisted in charges brought against four men from Baltimore and New York. Maryland State Police (MSP) and Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MDTAP) made three separate vehicle stops and FED officers conducted field inspections in the past two weeks, resulting in the confiscation of more than 26,000 packs of contraband cigarettes and more than 5,000 cigars for a total value of nearly $173,000.

“With their fine police work and partnering, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and my own Field Enforcement Division agents continue to combat illegal cigarette smuggling in our state,” Comptroller Franchot said. “I’d like to thank all of the officers involved for their hard work and efforts to stop this kind of criminal activity.”

In each case, FED officers were notified and responded to each investigation. Those arrested include:

Senauth Deonarain, 41, Brooklyn, N.Y. On Nov. 8, MSP Trooper Matthew Atkinson stopped a 2016 Nissan Pathfinder, with a N.Y. registration, for a traffic violation on Interstate 95, in Perryville, Cecil County. Deonarain faces a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. FED officers confiscated 6,599 packs of cigarettes, valued at $42,563, and the vehicle. Deonarain was released on personal recognizance.


Young G. Kwon, 59, Baltimore, Md. On Nov. 9, FED agents conducted a routine tobacco retailer inspection at Charlie’s Grocery store at 1100 S. Carey St. in Baltimore. During the inspection, agents found untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP) within the store inventory. Kwon, who is the store’s owner, faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of untaxed OTP. FED agents seized 5,136 cigars, valued at $3,991. The penalty is a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Walied Thabet, 29, Corona, N.Y. On Nov. 9, MSP Trooper Alan Flaugher stopped a 2016 Ford Explorer, with a Pennsylvania registration, for a traffic violation on I-95 in Perryville, Cecil County. Thabet faces a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. FED officers seized 9, 410 packs of contraband cigarettes, valued at $60,694, and the vehicle. Thabet was released on personal recognizance.

Mobido Camara, 32, Bronx, N.Y. On Nov. 13, MDTAP Officer Renato Guarnaccia stopped a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer, with Pennsylvania registration, for an equipment violation on I-95 in Baltimore City. Camara faces a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. FED agents seized 10,160 packs of contraband cigarettes, valued at $65,532, and the vehicle. Camara was released on $7,500 cash bond from the Baltimore City Central Booking facility.

Each arrest on the felony charge carries a penalty of two years in jail and/or a fine of $150 for each carton; and the misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

In Fiscal Year 2017, which started July 1, 2016, FED agents have arrested and charged 22 individuals for various tobacco violations after discovering 41 instances of breaches of Maryland’s tobacco laws. The arrests have resulted in the seizure of 42,267 packs of contraband cigarettes, the seizure of 38,213 sticks of OTP, valued at $308,624.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

All that higher tobacco taxes produce is an increase in smuggling and related crimes. Smugglers, whom most are foreign, can make more money smuggling tobacco than guns or drugs. I worked in the tobacco industry for 30 years and have seen this increase year after year. The penalties are minor and doesn't deter smuggling. These nitwits, usually from Pakistan, open up a "tobacco outlet" in VA and transport the cigarettes to NYC where they can make a ton of money. A portion of this money goes to Islamic terrorist organizations. Remember the Ramadans of OC ?

Anonymous said...

All scumbag foreigners filching the system.

Anonymous said...

What you are failing to realize is this work of good police.....instead of doing real police work they bust cigarettes....the state makes no real money....the crimes mostly misdemeanors...it costs Maryland more to bust these guys than it will ever make....a waste of good police work..

Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't see why MD can bust them for simply traveling through the State on an interstate highway. If MD really wanted revenue that badly the police could stop nearly every driver traveling from DE into MD from the outlets.

Anonymous said...

Since ALL the state loses is tax revenue, why don't they sell the smokes to the citizens for the cost of lost taxes. Everybody wins?

Unknown said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
First of all, I don't see why MD can bust them for simply traveling through the State on an interstate highway. If MD really wanted revenue that badly the police could stop nearly every driver traveling from DE into MD from the outlets.

November 18, 2016 at 8:20 PM

People are only allowed two PACKS of out of state cigarettes. That is how they are busted.

Anonymous said...

Many of these smugglers are Muslims with links to terrorism.

Steve said...

If they weren't taxed, there would be no profit in smuggling them, and the "crime" would cease to exist.

But that would make sense.

If a special tax would be levied on men's shirts, then smuggling would resume, employing judges, lawyers, and police across the nation.

See how that works?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure these people have green cards or are illegal.. Deport them and revoke their cards!!! Also if they are new citizens revoke their status!! Other countries throw people out for less and refuse them citizenship.. time for America to jump on Board!!! Get these parasites out!!!

Anonymous said...

At $2 a pack that is just over $52k in tax revenue + 6% sales tax on the total value brings the total state revenue lost to approx $64k. Now heres the key. How much did this total operation coast the state? Hmmm

Anonymous said...

Many many years ago I remodeled a liquor store in Wash DC. Twice a week a guy came to the back door and loaded a station wagon with cartons of cigaretts. The owner of the store was quick to tell me he wasn't doing anything illegal just selling the guy cigaretts but he said the guy took the cigaretts to New York and made about a dollar a carton on them.I saw this happen twice a week for about two months so smuggeling has been going on for a long time and will continue as long as taxes are high and there is easy money to be made.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:59 is absolutely correct concerning contraband cigarettes (and alcohol) being sold and the profits going to support muslinm terrorists.

Anonymous said...

MSP should have an undercover officer sit in the parking lot behind the delmar wawa and radio the car description of every md tagged vehilce bring untaxed alcohol and smokes back from the stores in delmar to MSP just over the state line on 13.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
MSP should have an undercover officer sit in the parking lot behind the delmar wawa and radio the car description of every md tagged vehilce bring untaxed alcohol and smokes back from the stores in delmar to MSP just over the state line on 13.

November 19, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Wow, you're such a good citizen.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what they do with the cigarettes they do confiscate?