Press Release, Comptroller of the State of Maryland

Field Enforcement Division agents seize 4,900 packs and vehicle

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (December 13, 2018) –Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that agents from his Field Enforcement Division (FED) arrested a New York man who has been charged in Maryland as a result of a traffic violation in which contraband cigarettes were discovered.

“Thanks to the keen police work by Anne Arundel County police and my FED agents, a tax cheat was caught, duly arrested and charged,” Comptroller Franchot said. “I’m proud of the cooperative efforts between my agents and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to stem the flow of untaxed cigarettes and other types of tobacco products.”

Early Wednesday, Ali Nasser Mohsen Ashubi, 25, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was stopped by Cpl. Joshua Dubrock of the Eastern Patrol Division of the Anne Arundel County Police Department for a traffic violation. Ashubi was driving a rented 2019 Dodge Durango SUV with North Carolina license plates at eastbound U.S. Route 50 and Oceanic Drive in Annapolis. During the stop, Cpl. Dubrock discovered the contraband cigarettes and alerted FED agents.

Upon arrival, FED agents searched the vehicle and found 4,900 packs of contraband cigarettes valued at $31,605 and representing a tax loss to the State of $9,800. The cigarettes and car were seized and Ashubi was arrested.

He was taken before a District Court Commissioner in Annapolis and charged with a felony count of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor count of possession of contraband cigarettes. He was released on $5,000 bond.

For fiscal year 2019, which began July 1, 2018, FED agents have arrested and charged 49 individuals for various tobacco violations in 28 instances. The arrests have resulted in the seizure of 24,693 packs of contraband cigarettes and 227,612 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products. The seized items are valued at $388,671.40 and represent a tax loss of $208,968.90.