Agents and inspectors from Comptroller Peter Franchot's Field Enforcement Division seized untaxed cigars from two stores in Prince George's and Baltimore counties, officials said Friday. During inspections conducted Wednesday and Thursday, a total of 32,772 cigars were confiscated, valued at an estimated $32,722, with a potential state sales tax loss of nearly $23,000.
The two store owners – Aruna Sharma who owns the Cherry Lane Exxon in Laurel, Md., and Baljit Singh who owns the 6-Eleven Stop Convenience & Deli Inc. in Dundalk, Md. – face criminal charges of willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
Since July 1, 2017, FED agents have arrested and charged 125 individuals various tobacco violations stemming from 114 instances of violations of Maryland's tobacco laws, totaling 138,347 packs of cigarettes and 355,851 other tobacco products seized. The estimated value of said contraband exceeds $1.2 million, a potential loss of nearly $600,000 in state tobacco tax revenue.