Store owner pleads guilty for trafficking millions in contraband cigarettes

Store owner pleads guilty for trafficking millions in contraband cigarettes
According to court documents, a Lorton man has pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to traffic millions of dollars in contraband cigarettes. (Source: Pixabay)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - According to court documents, a Lorton man has pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to traffic millions of dollars in contraband cigarettes.

Daniel K. Appiah, 65, owned and operated two companies that sold cigarettes between 2007 and 2020, which was a gas station in Fredricksburg and a tobacco store in Woodbridge.

Court documents say Appiah received for each of them a “Certificate of Registration for the Collection of Virginia Sales and Use Tax,” which exempted Appiah from paying the Virginia sales and use tax when making business purchases.

He thereafter opened business memberships at various wholesale clubs and with wholesale cigarette distributors in Virginia, and subsequently used those business memberships to make tax-free purchases of more than $7.2 million worth of Virginia-stamped cigarettes between 2015 and 2018, the Department of Justice says.

The Department of Justice also stated Appiah then sold and distributed more than $5.1 million worth of those cigarettes to cigarette traffickers whom he knew intended to smuggle those Virginia-stamped cigarettes out of the Commonwealth for re-sale as contraband cigarettes on the black market.

Court documents say Appiah pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on November 6.

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