Three people from Silver Spring arrested on the Maryland side of the Maryland-Virgina border have been charged with possessing and transporting more than $26,000 worth of contraband cigarettes.
The suspects, whose identities were not released, were detained by agents of the Maryland comptroller's office Wedesday morning after they were seen loading the cigarettes into a Toyota Camry with Maryland tags, a release from Comptroller Peter Franchot's office said. The vehicle was pulled over at Route 13 and Stockton Road in Worcester County. Agents said they found 4,100 packs of contraband cigarettes worth $26,445.
The suspects face a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes that carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two years in prison, according to the comptroller's office. They also will be charged with the misdemeanor possession of contraband cigarettes which carries a $1,000 fine and/or less than one year in prison.
Cigarettes are not taxed or taxed very little in most Southern states, Comptroller Franchot told CBS Baltimore. Smugglers buy the product cheaply in Virginia or another Southern state and sell them in places with high cigarette taxes, like Maryland, which is illegal.