From Staff Reports
ANNAPOLIS — Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced that agents from his Field Enforcement Division arrested 22 suspects and confiscated more than 82,000 packs of contraband cigarettes in the month of January, representing a 69 percent increase in the amount of arrests and a 150 percent increase in seized contraband for the same time last year.
The most recent arrests were made Friday in Worcester County, with agents seizing 6,500 packs of illegal cigarettes valued at $42,000.
The arrests were made in Baltimore, Cecil, Howard, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester counties and Baltimore City. All of the suspects have been charged with Transporting Contraband Cigarettes and Possession of Contraband Cigarettes in the State of Maryland. The transporting charge is a felony, which carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two-year imprisonment sentence. The possession offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment, not ex-ceeding one year.
Franchot is pushing for harsher penalties and stricter enforcement.