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Two arraigned in W.Va. on tobacco excise-tax violations

Shao Zhen Wang and Rong D. Lin were arraigned on single misdemeanor counts of evading excise tax on multiple cartons of cigarettes

August 14, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two New York residents were arraigned on tobacco excise-tax violations Wednesday after police stopped the vehicle they were traveling in on Interstate 81, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Shao Zhen Wang, 45, and Rong D. Lin, 50, were arraigned by Magistrate JoAnn Overington on single misdemeanor counts of evading the excise tax on multiple cartons of cigarettes found in the green Kia Sportage, the court records said.

West Virginia State Police Trooper N.K. Campbell counted more than 10 cartons of cigarettes in the couple’s possession, records said.

The arrests came a little more than a week after police seized more than 400 cartons of cigarettes at a Martinsburg residence and charged four New York men with transporting untaxed tobacco products.

In May, police seized more than 310 cartons of cigarettes from a vehicle that was stopped at a Martinsburg-area Sheetz and charged a New Jersey man with the misdemeanor tobacco excise tax violation, according to court documents. 

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New York state, which had the nation’s highest tax rate of $4.35 per pack, was found to have more smuggled cigarettes — 60.9 percent of the total market — than any other, the Tax Foundation said in January. New Jersey had the seventh highest tax rate.

— Matthew Umstead

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