Maryland State Police Beat: Cocaine and Untaxed Cigarettes Cut Short Trip of Two New York Smugglers
WESTOVER, MD. – No one buys cigarettes in New York and heads south, thus two New Yorkers were heading north with untaxed cigarettes to distribute to retailers back in Brooklyn.
Maryland On August 11, 2018 Troopers of the Maryland State Police Princess Anne Barrack conducted a traffic stop on gray Honda Accord bearing New York Registration for traffic violations in the area of northbound US Route 13 and Camp Road, Westover, Somerset County, Maryland.
Upon contact with the occupants who were identified as Marc J Schwartz, DOB: 5/29/1952 of Staten Island, New York and Luke Norgreen Keough, DOB: 1/10/1991 of Brooklyn, New York. Based on the presence of criminal indicators a K9 scan was conducted on the vehicle. The scan produced a positive alert and a search of the vehicle was conducted. Keough was found to be in possession of cocaine and associated paraphernalia. Schwartz was found to be in possession of 112 cartons of various untaxed cigarettes and a large amount of US currency.
Both of the listed subjects were subsequently arrested. Based on the above, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office was contacted, and Schwartz was released on a Criminal Citation. Keough was taken before a Somerset County District Court Commissioner where he was released on his own recognizance.
Untaxed Cigarettes Headed for New York Sidelined on I-95 by Maryland Trooper
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (August 16, 2018) – Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that officers from his Field Enforcement Division assisted Maryland State Police from the JFK Barrack in a traffic stop on I-95 north in Baltimore County on Aug. 13, 2018, 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 protect 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 at mile marker 70 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 the 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.
Three Philly Cigarette Smugglers went on a buying spree in Virginia; venture ended in Maryland when blunted by Comptroller agents
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 2, 2018) – Agents from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Field Enforcement Division (FED) arrested three Philadelphia men who have been charged in Maryland as a result of a surveillance operation on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
“My FED agents are dedicated to identifying criminals who try to cheat the system and use Maryland as a transportation conduit for their illegal activities,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Their vigilance protects Maryland businesses and levels the playing field for all.”
“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”
The Comptroller said that agents observed Quay Samuel Chaney, 54, 319 North 62nd Street, Philadelphia, Pa., buying multiple quantities of cigarettes from various locations June 28, 2018, and concealing the cigarettes in the rear seat area of a 2008 Volvo. Chaney was a passenger in a car driven by Ronald Tucker, 59, and occupied by another passenger, Edward Bernard Johns, 65, of 2933 W. Gordon Street, Philadelphia, Pa. The three then drove from Virginia into Maryland, where the car was stopped by police at Sheep House Road in Pocomoke, Worcester County.
Agents searched the vehicle and 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 car were seized and all three were arrested.
Each man was taken before a Worcester County District Court Commissioner in Snow Hill and charged with a felony count of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor count of possession of contraband cigarettes.
Chaney is being held on a $16,500 bond at the Worcester County Detention Center and the taxpayers of Maryland will be overjoyed to learn that they are paying for his free attorney from the public defender’s office in Salisbury.
Tucker and Johns were each released on personal recognizance.
Ronald Tucker, of 5236 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pa., has requested a jury trial with his mouthpiece – Kristina Louise Watkowski, of Snow Hill, Md., – being paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland – the same taxpayers who were being shorted out of income by untaxed cigarettes being transported into Maryland. Johns also has been given a free taxpayer-provided attorney, Nathan Kyle Long, acting as a public defender.