30 Jan

A man from Roanoke Rapids who was accused of distributing illegal cigarettes and contraband pled guilty to federal charges Monday. The man was accused of running the illegal cigarettes and other contraband for the cigarettes through North Carolina and other states on the East Coast.

The man was indicted by a federal grand jury last February on 40 federal charges. The main allegations against the man were that he “conspired to profit from illegal trade of large quantities of ‘export only’ cigarettes,” the RR Daily Herald reported.

The export only cigarettes contain higher levels of nicotine and are not subject to excise tax since they are meant to be shipped overseas or exported out of the country. Instead, the man was accused of selling them out of ABC licensed outlets and other Raleigh and North Carolina retail stores. The value of the cigarettes sold exceeded $21,000. The man was also charged with selling the cigarettes without a valid federal permit.

Agents investigating the illegal cigarette ring were able to recover $1.9 million in cash and $10 million in bank accounts, in addition to the luxury cars seized. The man is likely to face prison time at his upcoming sentencing scheduled for Feb. 15.

Source: Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald, “RR man pleads guilty in federal cigarette case,” Roger Bell, 1/30/2012