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N.Y. man charged with illegally transporting cigarettes

July 27, 2010|By DON AINES

A New York man charged with illegally transporting 166 cartons of cigarettes pleaded guilty to the charge Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court and was fined $8,000.

Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer sentenced Chandrakant Petigara, 70, of Queens Village, N.Y., to three days in jail, giving him credit for the three days he spent in jail after his arrest in March.

In exchange for Petigara's plea, a charge of possessing untaxed cigarettes was dismissed, Assistant State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said.

Petigara was pulled over March 23, 2010, by Maryland State Police for speeding, according to the statement of probable cause in the case. Petigara was driving a car registered in North Carolina with an expired inspection sticker, the statement said.

Petigara signed a consent form to have his vehicle searched, and police found black trash bags filled with cartons of cigarettes worth an estimated $9,511.80, the statement of probable cause said. When the cigarettes were found, police alleged he offered one of the troopers $2,000 to let him go, the statement said.

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Petigara did not have a bill of lading or a permit to transport the cigarettes through Maryland, the statement said. At $2 a pack, the Maryland state tax on the cigarettes was $2,320, the statement of probable cause said.

The cigarettes and car were confiscated, Rozes said.

Rozes said Petigara was charged twice before with smuggling cigarettes.

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