Five defendants pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Cigarettes.” Each faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for their role in transporting large quantities of cigarettes across state lines for redistribution and sale. The cigarettes were acquired in Virginia, where the tax rate for cigarettes is one of the lowest in the nation, and sold in New York, which has one of the nation’s highest tax rates. The cigarettes were possessed and transported in West Virginia.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Office of Attorney General, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the West Virginia State Police, the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. For additional information please refer to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia.