Annapolis, Md. (July 18, 2011) – Law enforcement agents for Comptroller Peter Franchot confiscated more than 3,000 packs of the contraband cigarettes and arrested a man late last week along Route 301 in White Plains, Md. During a routine traffic violation stop, Trooper First Class John Edelen of the Maryland State Police identified numerous cartons of cigarettes and immediately notified the Comptroller’s Office. Comptroller’s agents arrived on the scene and seized 3,100 packs of illegal cigarettes, valued at more than $18,500.
“I’d like to thank Trooper Edelen and the Maryland State Police for their invaluable assistance in this case,” said Comptroller Franchot. “My agency has great partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the state which allows my agents to be vigilant as we work to arrest and prosecute those who blatantly disregard Maryland's tobacco laws thus protecting law-abiding businesses and keeping our communities free of contraband.”
On Thursday, after agents investigated the call from Maryland State Police, officials arrested the driver of the vehicle, Roberto De Jesus Aquiar Mendoza, a 39-year-old resident of Philadelphia, Pa. He has been charged with transporting contraband cigarettes and possession of contraband cigarettes in the state of Maryland. The transporting charge is a felony, which carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two years imprisonment; and the possession offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment, not exceeding one year. Mendoza posted a $5,000 bond and was released pending his court hearing.