Comptroller Agents Seize Nearly $16K Worth of Contraband Cigarettes in Two Day Operation

- Two Stopped on Interstate 81 in Hagerstown -

Annapolis, MD (November 20, 2012)

Working hard to ensure that everyone pays their fair share, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced today that agents from his Field Enforcement Division, in cooperation with the Northern Virginia Cigarette Tax Board, recently confiscated $15,976 worth of contraband cigarettes on Interstate 81 in Hagerstown, Md. In a two-day operation, agents seized 2,477 packs of illegal cigarettes and arrested one man.

“My agents will continue to aggressively crackdown on cigarette smuggling and other illegal tax evasion tactics,” said Comptroller Franchot. “This activity will not be tolerated in Maryland.”

On Thursday, after witnessing the defendant purchase a large quantity of cigarettes at multiple locations in Virginia, which has a lower tax rate for the product, law enforcement officials stopped Brian Wilson, 55, of Tillison, NY, and seized his 1,680 packs of contraband cigarettes as well as his 2005 Suzuki. 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-year imprisonment sentence. The possession offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment, not exceeding one year.

The following day, agents witnessed, Lorraine Brown, 56, of Waterbury, CT, purchasing a large amount of cigarettes in Virginia and stopped her 1989 Volvo on Interstate 81 in Hagerstown. Agents discovered nearly 800 packs of illegal cigarettes worth $5140. She was issued a criminal citation and agents seized the contraband and her vehicle.
“I applaud my agents and our partners in the law enforcement community for their efforts. We will continue to work together to stop this kind of criminal activity in Maryland,” Franchot said.

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