Takoma Park Man Charged with Cigarette Smuggling

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 4, 2018) - Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that officers from his Field Enforcement Division (FED) assisted Maryland State Police (MSP) JFK Barrack PACE Team Wednesday evening with a traffic stop on Interstate 95 North in Cecil County. Agents seized 12,370 packs of unstamped cigarettes valued at nearly $80,000 and a vehicle.

At 6:24 p.m., MSP Cpl. Brian Hinsch stopped a 2018 Dodge Ram pick-up truck registered in Virginia for a traffic violation. Hinsch discovered the contraband cigarettes and notified the Comptroller’s Office’s FED agents.

The driver, Jermaine Shabazz Grant, 44, of Takoma Park, was arrested and charged with a felony count of transporting unstamped cigarettes and a misdemeanor count of possession of unstamped cigarettes.

Agents seized 12,370 packs of unstamped cigarettes and the vehicle used in transportation. The seized cigarettes are valued at $79,786.50 and represent a tax loss to the state of $24,740.

Grant posted a $3,000 unsecured bond and was released on Thursday.

To date for fiscal year 2018, which started July, 1, 2017, FED agents have arrested and charged 148 individuals for various tobacco violations as a result of discovering 137 instances of violations of Maryland’s tobacco laws.  These arrests have resulted in the seizure of 169,314 packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of 448,053 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP).  The seized items are valued at $1,550,956.40 and represents a tax loss to the State of Maryland $720,877.40.

Photos available upon request.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Joseph Shapiro -  jshapiro@comp.state.md.us
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

Alan Brody –  abrody@comp.state.md.us
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)