Two men convicted of cigarette smuggling charge
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A Virginia business owner and business manager were convicted of unlawful cigarette smuggling, Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Chief Randolph J. Bernard announced today.
Manjoth Raj Singh, age 32, of Waldorf, Maryland, and Sukhdev Singh Virdi, age 45, of Dacula, Georgia, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Traffic in Untaxed Cigarettes .” Singh and Virdi admitted to conspiring to profit from the unlawful sale of contraband cigarettes.
Singh is the owner of American Cigarette Outlet, Inc., in Clearbrook, Virginia, which did business as Virginia Cigarette Outlet and Clearbrook Cigarettes and Virdi was the store manager. The two admitted to transporting large quantities of cigarettes across state lines for redistribution and sale. The cigarettes were acquired in Virginia, where the tax rate for cigarettes is one of the lowest in the nation, and sold in other states, including New York, which has one of the nation’s highest tax rates. The cigarettes were possessed and transported in West Virginia.
Each of the defendants faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Stein prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. Homeland Security Investigations, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, and the West Virginia State Police investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.