N.Y. man fined $5,000 in cigarette-smuggling attempt

Henry Avigail Badia pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court

April 04, 2013|By DON AINES |

A New York City man charged with trying to smuggle 805 cartons of cigarettes through Maryland forfeited the $30,000 worth of smokes and received a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court to transporting unstamped cigarettes.

In addition to the forfeiture and fine, Judge Donald E. Beachley placed Henry Avigail Badia, 34, on probation before judgment and a year’s supervised probation. Under probation before judgment, Badia, who had no criminal record, could have his record cleared if he successfully completes probation.

On Nov. 7, 2012, authorities in Virginia alerted the Maryland State Comptroller’s Office of possible tobacco smuggling from a truck stop in Clear Brook, Va., Washington County Assistant State’s Attorney Arthur Rozes said.

Agents from the comptroller’s office went to the truck stop and observed a sport utility vehicle being loaded with black trash bags filled with what appeared to be cases of cigarette cartons, Rozes said.


Maryland State Police stopped the vehicle on Interstate 81 in Washington County and discovered the cigarettes, Rozes said.

The vehicle had been rented at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, he said.

Badia told police he spent about $30,000 on the cigarettes, Rozes said, reading from the statement of facts.

“He claimed it was his life savings and he was going to take them back to the New York area to sell them in restaurants,” Rozes said.

“I did not know at the time I did this that a product sold worldwide could be illegal to move from state to state,” Badia said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter.

Although a resident of New York, Badia told Beachley, “I am an accountant in my country.”

The country was not named during the hearing.

“He’s not to leave the building until that’s paid,” Beachley said of Badia’s $5,000 fine.

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