FED Agents Cite Stores in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 8, 2018) - Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that agents from the Field Enforcement Division (FED) seized untaxed other tobacco products (OTP) and cited six retail operations in Baltimore and two in Prince George’s County in late April through early May. A total of 18,183 untaxed sticks of OTP were confiscated with a value of $18,183 and representing a tax loss of $12,847.

“The work my Field Enforcement Division agents and inspectors do each and every day helps to keep Maryland’s citizens from being ripped off by those trying to cheat them,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

The following store owners and clerks were charged:

  • BP Gas Station, 6019 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21206, owned by Asif Ayub, 47, Baltimore; inspected May 3 with 2,233 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $2,233 and representing a tax loss of $1,563.10. Ayub was charged with willful possession, sale of offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products, and clerk Tamer Farid Abdalla, 35, of Baltimore, was charged with selling unpackaged cigarettes.
  • H&C Market, 1946 Penrose Ave., Baltimore, MD 21223, owned by Shia Ying Lin, 41, Baltimore; inspected April 30 with 1,250 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $1,250 and representing a tax loss of $875. Lin was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products, and clerk Bao Ying Lin, 44, Baltimore, was charged with selling unpackaged cigarettes.
  • Hillen Grocery Store, 1900 E. 31st Street, Baltimore, MD 21218; inspected April 27; clerk Xiaoyon Ouyang, 32, of Baltimore, was charged with selling unpackaged cigarettes.
  • Harford Mini Mart, 4600 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214, owned by Omar Alawgarey, 44, of Baltimore; inspected April 25 with 910 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $910 and representing a tax loss of $637. Alawgary was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products, and clerk Mohamed Nouraldin, 40, of Baltimore, was charged with selling unpacked cigarettes.
  • A Plus Convenience Store, 3745 W. Belvedere Ave., Baltimore, MD 21215, owned by Kyoo Han, 70, of Glen Burnie; inspected April 24 with 755 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $755 and representing a tax loss of $528.50. Han was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
  • Brothers Deli and Grocery, 3448 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21213, owned by Hamzah Nagi, 22, of Baltimore; inspected April 19 with 2,383 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $2,383 and representing a tax loss of $1,668.10. Nagi was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
  • Quick Mart, 5805 Silver Hill Road, Suite 1, District Heights, Prince George’s County, MD 20747; inspected April 25 with 8,211 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $8,686, 46 and representing a tax loss of $5,866.46. Clerk Abdul Wahab, 32, of Columbia, was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
  • Dollar Store Plus Food, 3512 Old Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Prince George’s County; inspected April 24 with 2,441 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $2,441 and representing a tax loss of $1,708.70. Store manager Erzik Adem, 46, of Arlington, VA 22206, was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.

In Maryland, a retailer can only lawfully possess and sell non-premium cigars purchased from a licensed Maryland wholesaler of OTP. Retailers must possess invoices for all OTP inventory indicating that the Maryland excise tax had been paid to the state by the wholesaler.

So far 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 OTP. The seized items are valued at $1,550,956.40 and representing a tax loss to the state of $720,877.40.

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)