Comptroller Agents, State Police Partner to Seize Nearly 7K Illegal Cigs on US-13, Somerset County

Annapolis, Md. (June 24, 2011) – After receiving a tip from Maryland State Police, agents for Comptroller Peter Franchot confiscated nearly 7,000 packs of contraband cigarettes and arrested a man earlier this week along US-13 in Princess Anne in Somerset County. During a routine traffic violation stop, Trooper Scott A. Zink of the Maryland State Police observed numerous cases of cigarettes partially hidden under a blanket inside the vehicle and immediately notified the Comptroller’s office. Comptroller’s agents arrived on the scene and seized 6,931 packs of illegal cigarettes, valued at more than $40,000.

“This illegal activity will not be tolerated and I want to thank the Maryland State Police for their invaluable assistance in this case,” said Comptroller Franchot. “This is a great example of the tremendous partnership my agency has with law enforcement agencies across the state. Working together with their colleagues, my agents will continue to be vigilant as we work to arrest and prosecute those who blatantly disregard Maryland’s tobacco laws which protect law-abiding businesses and keep our communities free of contraband.”

After the Comptroller’s agents investigated the situation, officials arrested the driver of the vehicle, Eltobah Nagmuddin, a 34-year-old resident of Brooklyn, NY. He has been charged with Transporting Contraband Cigarettes and Possession of Contraband Cigarettes in the State of Maryland. The transporting charge is a felony, which carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two years imprisonment; and the possession offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment, not exceeding one year.

Nagmuddin was remanded to the Somerset County Detention Center, awaiting a judicial review before a court commissioner.

MEDIA CONTACT: Caron Brace, (410) 260-7438 (office), (410) 212-9414 (cell)