Field Enforcement Division agents seize 3,800 packs and vehicle
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - During a surveillance operation January 24, agents from the Comptroller of Maryland’s Field Enforcement Division (FED) arrested a Pennsylvania man and confiscated thousands of packs of contraband cigarettes.
“Our FED agents are always on the lookout for cheats and crooks who take the chance of driving through Maryland with their illegal tobacco products,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said. “We are proud of their dedicated work in identifying these scofflaws and bringing them to justice.”
At 10:30 a.m. January 24, FED agents saw a man buy multiple cartons of cigarettes from a discount cigarette retail store along U.S. Route 13 in Oak Hall, Va. The man put them in the rear of a 2006 Toyota Scion with a Pennsylvania license plate and then drove north on Route 13 from Virginia into Maryland. Agents stopped the vehicle at Route 13 and Sheep House Road in Pocomoke, Worcester County and conducted a search of the car.
FED agents seized 3,840 packs of contraband cigarettes and the car used in transportation. The seized cigarettes are valued at $24,768 and represent a tax loss to the state of $7,680.
The driver, Jose Amado Rivera, 71, of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with a felony count of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor count of possession of contraband cigarettes. Mr. Rivera was taken before a district court commissioner in Snow Hill, Worcester County, and released on personal recognizance. A court date has not been set.