Comptroller’s Agents Cite Prince George’s County Stores

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 14, 2018) - Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that agents from the Field Enforcement Division (FED) seized other tobacco products (OTP) and cited two Prince George’s County retail operations for selling untaxed products. A total of 18,408 sticks of OTP and 300 containers of (loose tobacco) OTP were confiscated with a value of $20,829 and representing a tax loss to the state of $13,608.

“This is the fourth major seizure my Field Enforcement Division agents have completed since April, and they will continue to keep Maryland’s citizens from being ripped off by those trying to cheat them,” said Comptroller Franchot.

The following store owners were charged:

  • Discount Mart Convenience Store: 5003 A. Marlboro Pike, Capital Heights, MD 20743, owned by Mehboob-ul Haq Chowdhury, 35, of Suitland; inspected May 9 with 14,734 sticks and 300 containers of (loose tobacco) untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $17,164 and representing a tax loss of $11,043.20. Chowdhury was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
  • Discount Cigarettes I: 5742 Silver Hill Road, District Heights, MD 20747, owned by Jason Yongjin Chung, 39, of Stafford, VA; inspected May 10 with 3,665 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $3,665 and representing a tax loss of $2,565. Chung 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 150 individuals for various tobacco violations as a result of discovering 139 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 463,153 sticks of untaxed OTP. The seized items are valued at $1,571,785.40 and representing a tax loss to the state of $735,585.60.

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)