ANNAPOLIS, Md. –Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that agents from the Field Enforcement Division (FED) seized other tobacco products (OTP) and cited two Prince George’s County retail operations for selling untaxed products. A total of 18,408 sticks of OTP and300 containers of (loose tobacco) OTPwere confiscated with a value of $20,829 and representing a tax loss to the state of $13,608.
“This is the fourth major seizure myField Enforcement Division agentshave completed since April,and they will continueto keep Maryland’s citizens from being ripped off by those trying to cheat them,” saidComptroller Franchot.
The following store owners were charged:
- Discount Mart Convenience Store:5003 A. Marlboro Pike, Capital Heights, MD 20743, owned by Mehboob-ul Haq Chowdhury, 35, of Suitland; inspected May 9 with 14,734 sticks and 300 containers of (loose tobacco) untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $17,164 and representing a tax loss of $11,043.20. Chowdhury was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
- Discount Cigarettes I:5742 Silver Hill Road, District Heights, MD 20747, owned by Jason Yongjin Chung, 39, of Stafford, VA; inspected May 10 with 3,665 sticks of untaxed OTP seized with a retail value of $3,665 and representing a tax loss of $2,565. Chung was charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell untaxed other tobacco products.
In Maryland, a retailer can only lawfully possess and sell non-premium cigars purchased from a licensed Maryland wholesaler of OTP. Retailers must possess invoices for all OTP inventory indicating that the Maryland excise tax had been paid to the state by the wholesaler.
So far for fiscal year 2018, which started July 1, 2017, FED agents have arrested and charged150individuals for various tobacco violations as a result of discovering 139 instances of violations of Maryland’s tobacco laws. These arrests have resulted in the seizure of169,314packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of463,153sticks of untaxed OTP. The seized items are valued at $1,571,785.40and representing a tax loss to the state of$735,585.60.