Comptroller Peter Franchot announced on Thursday that officers from the Field Enforcement Division assisted Maryland State Police in a traffic stop on northbound Interstate 95 in Baltimore County on Tuesday night that netted 1,650 packs of contraband cigarettes valued at more than $10,000.
“Day or night, my agents remain vigilant in identifying criminals who try to cheat Maryland citizens and who use Maryland highways in the pursuit of their illegal acts,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Their dedication and hard work along with the Maryland State Police protects our businesses and our citizens.”
Agents said Ebrahim Mukai Mohamed Altairi, 20, of Richmond, VA., driving a rented 2019 Chevrolet Colorado SUV with Virginia tags, was stopped for a traffic violation on I-95 in White Marsh. During the stop, Altairi was found to be transporting contraband cigarettes.
FED agents were contacted and responded to the scene to search the vehicle. They found 1,650 packs of contraband cigarettes valued at $10,642.50 and representing a tax loss to the State of $3,300.
The cigarettes and SUV were seized and Altair was arrested.
Altairi was charged with a felony count of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. He was released from the Baltimore County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing has been set for September 14 at Baltimore County District Court.
For fiscal year 2019, which started July 1, 2018, FED agents have arrested and charged eight individuals for various tobacco violations in eight investigations. These arrests have resulted in the seizure of 1,650 packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of 35,938 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP). The seized items are valued at $46,580.50 and represent a tax loss to the State of $28,456.50.