Takoma Park Man Charged with Smuggling Smokes

Agents from the Comptroller’s Office Field Enforcement Division confiscated contraband untaxed cigarettes during a traffic stop made by Maryland State Police on northbound I-95 in Cecil County.

A Takoma Park man was arrested Wednesday night for transporting more than 12,000 packs of unstamped cigarettes, a felony, after a traffic stop on I-95, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office said in a statement.

Agents with the office’s Field Enforcement Division, with help from Maryland State Police, seized 12,370 packs of unstamped cigarettes valued at nearly $80,000 and a vehicle, according to the statement.

The cigarettes represent a $24,740 tax loss to the state, the statement said.

The driver, Jermaine Shabazz Grant, 44, posted a $3,000 unsecured bond and was released on Thursday, the statement said.

The stop occurred at 6:24 p.m. when State Police Cpl. Brian Hinsch stopped a 2018 Dodge Ram pickup truck registered in Virginia for a traffic violation, the statement said. Hinsch discovered the contraband cigarettes and notified the Comptroller’s Office.

To date 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 Other Tobacco Products (OTP).  The seized items are valued at $1,550,956.40 and represents a tax loss to the State of Maryland $720,877.40.

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