Cigarette smuggling scheme goes up in smoke.

February 24, 2016

mcso_cruiser_k9LUDINGTON — Mason County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a 19-year-old Detroit man on a seven-count felony warrant Tuesday, Feb. 23, following a two-month investigation involving the illegal sale of cigarettes; stealing ATM (automated teller machine) cards; and identity theft.

MCSO also has the same seven-count warrant for another 19-year-old Detroit man who remains at large, according to a press release from Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole issued Wednesday morning, Feb. 24.

“On Dec. 22, 2015 at 2:55 a.m., Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a suspicious situation call at the Airport EZ Mart located in the 5400 block of West US 10 in Pere Marquette Township,” the press release states.

“The complainant alleged two subjects had been in the store purchasing large quantities of cigarettes.

“A deputy patrolling the area located the vehicle in question and conducted a traffic stop in the City of Ludington. During the traffic stop, deputies located a small amount of marijuana on both suspects, who are 19-year-old Detroit men, and both were arrested on the possession of marijuana charge.

“During an inventory of the vehicle, deputies located 139 cartons of various cigarettes (or over 27,000 cigarettes) and assorted debit cards.

“Since the day of the traffic stop, detectives have been working the case in hopes of identifying the owners of the debit cards.  

“On Monday, Feb. 22, detectives swore to seven-count felony warrants for both subjects. On Tuesday, Feb, 23, detectives arrested one of the two subjects when he returned to Mason County for court on the possession of marijuana case.”

The suspect is charged with the following:

Count 1— tobacco products tax act violation, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

Counts 2-6 — stealing/retaining a financial transaction device without consent, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Count 7 — identity theft, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

“Count 1 pertains to the Tobacco Products Tax Act 327 of 1993 subsection #3 which states in part, ‘A person who possesses, acquires, transports, or offers for sale contrary to this act 3,000 or more cigarettes, tobacco products other than cigarettes with an aggregate wholesale price of $250 or more…’

“Counts 2-6 pertain to alleged repeated trips into the Airport EZ Mart and East Gate Wesco to purchase cartons of cigarettes.  

“Count 7 is a result of deputies identifying a victim whose identity was allegedly used (credit card number) to make the purchases.”

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks