Chesterfield Police say four men bought cigarettes from gas stations in Virginia, hoping to turn them around for a profit out of state.
Mohamed Ahmed el Moijtaba, Mohamed Jiddou, Ely Amar,and Elhacen Ouldelhakem are all charged with selling, purchasing or possessing tax-paid cigarettes.
Trafficking cigarettes is against the law, but the profits to be made on it in Virginia are huge. Criminals are making thousands buying here where taxes are lower, and selling out of state.
Special investigators tasked with cracking down on cigarette trafficking reported followed the four men from gas station to gas station in the area. At each stop, police say they loaded up on cartons of cigarettes.
Investigators followed the four men to a storage facility in Chester and police say they found 40 cases of cigarettes in the trunk of the car.
Police say the men were not licensed dealers and they lied about having all those cartons of cigarettes. Plus, detectives say in cases like this one, criminals will use storage units to hide even more cases of cigarettes.
In Virginia, cigarette taxes add up to just $3 a carton. In New York, the taxes are $58.50 a carton. On 40 cartons, traffickers could make $2,220 dollars.
And according to arrest reports, two of the suspects have New York zip codes.
More on the subject from the Virginia State Crime Commission.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics