Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that agents for his Field Enforcement Division seized untaxed non-premium cigars at a Prince George’s County store during an April 10 inspection.
Morud Hossain, 28, of Suitland, owner of Smoke Shop Inc., trading as Discount Tobacco and Vapor Shop in Capitol Heights, faces a criminal citation of willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products (OTP). Agents seized 24,193 sticks of OTP with a retail value of $24,193 and representing a tax loss of $16,935.10.
“The hardworking employees of the Field Enforcement Division are always on the lookout for those trying to cheat the system,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Their dedication to finding these wrongdoers safeguards Maryland’s money and supports business owners who do the right thing.”
In Maryland, a retailer can only lawfully possess and sell non-premium cigars purchased from a licensed Maryland wholesaler of OTP. Retailers must possess invoices for all OTP inventory indicating that the Maryland excise tax had been paid to the state by the wholesaler.
To date for fiscal year 2018, which started July, 1, 2017, FED agents have arrested and charged 126 individuals for various tobacco-related crimes as a result of discovering 115 instances of violations of Maryland’s tobacco laws. These arrests have resulted in the seizure of 138,347 packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of 360,044 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP). The seized items are valued at $1,280,237.13 and represents a tax loss to the State of $610,968.02.