Police seize $77K in untaxed cigarettes along I-95

Police LightsThe Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police announced on Thursday that they had arrested a North Carolina man who had nearly 1,200 cartons of untaxed cigarettes with a retail value exceeding $77,000 in his car.

“I am grateful and appreciative of the collaborative effort between my Field Enforcement agents and the men and women of the MDTA Police in battling the illegal smuggling of cigarettes to the detriment of Maryland’s citizens and businesses. This important relationship has yielded many successful arrests of those who would, without regard for others or the law, seek only to benefit themselves through unlawful conduct,” said Maryland Comptroller Director of Field Enforcement Jeffrey Kelly.

On Monday, January 23, an MDTA Police Officer stopped Issam Ali Ahmad, 53, of Raleigh, N.C., on northbound I-95 for exceeding the posted speed limit. During a subsequent probable cause search of the vehicle, a 2015 Toyota Sienna, officers located the cigarettes in the rear of the vehicle. Officers took Ahmad into custody without incident.

The MDTA Police contacted the Comptroller of Maryland – Field Enforcement Division regarding the seizure, and an agent charged Ahmad with transporting cigarettes within Maryland without the tobacco tax being paid and unlawfully possessing more than 30 cartons of unstamped cigarettes. The total tax loss for the state of Maryland is $24,000.

“The MDTA Police continues to partner with allied law-enforcement agencies to help eliminate criminal activity on our roadways,” said MDTA Police Chief Col. Jerry Jones.

The investigation revealed Ahmad was traveling from North Carolina to New Jersey. After processing, Ahmad was transported by the Comptroller of Maryland Field Enforcement Division to a nearby detention center. He was released pending his trial.

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