From: NACS Online
GREENVILLE, SC – Federal and state law enforcement officials in Rhode Island arrested four men earlier this week in a cigarette smuggling ring that officials estimate cost the state more than $5.7 million in cigarette tax revenue, WSPA reports.
Rhode Island police announced the arrests yesterday after executing search warrants in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia and South Carolina. The four are charged with selling unstamped cigarettes and importing cigarettes with an effort to evade taxes.
Officials said they uncovered the cigarettes at 15 Rhode Island stores.
The latest arrests are part of an ongoing, three-year investigation of untaxed cigarettes that uncovered a massive ring that spans from Virginia to South Carolina.
According to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Virginia, the suspects acquired the cigarettes in Virginia and transported them to South Carolina for distribution. Over the past three years, “members of the conspiracy have paid undercover law enforcement officers approximately $20 million for untaxed cigarettes,” said Brian McGinn, a spokesperson for the office.