Comptroller Agents & Police Confiscate Illegal Cigs, Guns & Drugs from Baltimore City Store

–Butt Bust Yields Unexpected Cache of Firearms & Marijuana–

Annapolis, MD (November 9, 2007) – Agents for Comptroller Peter Franchot along with members of the Baltimore City Police yesterday confiscated over 8000 packs of cigarettes, a large quantity of marijuana and various firearms from a Baltimore City business.

“People who blatantly disregard the law will not be tolerated,” said Comptroller Franchot. “My agents will continue to work closely with our partners in local jurisdictions to enforce Maryland’s tobacco laws which protect law-abiding businesses and keep our communities free from this contraband.”

Agents executed a search and seizure warrant at Joseph’s Tobacco Shop at 5416 Harford Road in Baltimore. Yesterday’s bust comes at the end of a week-long investigation after an undercover officer visited the store and discovered that the business was operating without a valid license. The operator of the store was subsequently instructed to immediately discontinue all sales until he obtained a valid license.

Upon serving the warrant, a total of 8,431 packs of cigarettes with an estimated value of more than $33,000 were found and later seized by Comptroller agents. In addition, a large quantity of marijuana and other drugs, a 7.62 caliber semi-automatic rifle, a .22 caliber rifle, and two semi-automatics pistols as well as a total of $2,114.00 in cash were seized by Baltimore City Police.

Agents arrested the owner/operator of the business, Mr. Han Yeong Yu, 49 of Baltimore. He faces two charges including: unlawfully selling cigarettes without the required license, a misdemeanor that carries a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days; unlawfully doing business in the state without a valid Trader’s License, a misdemeanor carrying a $300 fine or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days. Additional charges relating to the illegal drugs and firearms will be filed by the Baltimore City Police Department.

So far in fiscal year 2008, Comptroller agents have charged 11 individuals with tobacco violations and have confiscated a total of 12,819 packs of cigarettes at an approximate value of $51,532.

Contact: Warren Hansen, 410-260-7082 (office), 240-315-7159 (cell)