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Court to hear untaxed smokes case

November 02, 2000

Court to hear untaxed smokes case



Two New York residents who were charged in Washington County last month with having nearly 20,000 packs of untaxed cigarettes appeared for preliminary hearings Wednesday in Washington County District Court.

Probable cause was found to try the cases of Hua Shan Yu, 38, of New York City, and Xiao Ming Li, 48, of Brooklyn, N.Y. They are charged with possession and transportation of unstamped cigarettes, court records said.

In early October, the Maryland Comptroller's office learned of a large purchase of untaxed cigarettes in Virginia during a surveillance operation, according to court records.

On. Oct. 6, the two were stopped on Interstate 81. In their car, authorities found 19,151 packs of untaxed cigarettes, court records said.

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The Maryland tax loss on that many untaxed cigarettes was estimated at $12,639, with a retail sales loss of $63,006, court records said.

Taken into custody, the woman, Xiao Ming Li, was identified with some difficulty because police said her fingerprints had been removed, according to court records.

Both were released the day after their arrests on cash bonds of $10,000 each posted by a resident of New York, jail officials said.

Judge Ralph France, who presided over the preliminary hearings, ordered the forfeiture of the defendants' passports pending trial.

- Marlo Barnhart

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