Agents in the Maryland Comptroller's Field Enforcement Division discovered nearly $60,000 of contraband tobacco products through a traffic stop and an investigation of three retail stores.
Around 1 p.m. on April 18, FED agents assisted a state trooper in the stop of a Dodge Caravan with Missouri plates traveling on I-81 south of Hagerston. 7,700 pack of unstamped cigarettes valued at nearly $50,000 were seized during the stop.
The driver, Jesuel Mariano Paulino, 23, of High Point, N.C., faces a felony charge of transporting unstamped cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of unstamped cigarettes. He was released on bond.
During store inspections in Baltimore County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City on April 17 and 18, FED agents seized roughly $9,000 worth of untaxed other tobacco products. Three men face charges of willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed tobacco products from the operation.
A clerk at DC Mini Mart LLC on Varnum Street in Mount Ranier, Md., Abdul Ahad Polash, 36, of District Heights, Md., was linked to 8,002 sticks of untaxed other tobacco products, with an estimated retail value of $8,000. The owner of the Yogi and Rabindra Inc. on Belair Road in Nottingham, Md., Rabindra Adhikari, 37, of Baltimore, was linked to 503 sticks of untaxed other tobacco products with an estimated retail of $500. The manager of J&R Grocery & Deli, Inc. on North Patterson Park Avenue in Baltimore, Maxi Guzman, 38, of Baltimore, was linked to 480 sticks of other tobacco products with an estimated value of $480.
Since July 1, 2017, FED agents have charged 135 individuals for various tobacco offenses, seizing more than 150,000 packs of untaxed cigarettes and more than 425,000 sticks of other tobacco products, with an estimated value of nearly $1.5 million.