April 2nd 2009, NY – Ronald B. Turk, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New York office today announced the arrests of two (2) individuals who purchased untaxed cigarettes from ATF while also selling ATF counterfeit New York State/City Tax Stamps.
Guang Ming Wang, age 58 and his son, Feishan Wang, age 30, both residents of Queens, were arrested by ATF Agents without incident today in Flushing. Guang Ming Wang arrived at a prearranged meet location with $312,000 in cash and over 200,000 counterfeit tax stamps.
As the cash and stamps were exchanged for a shipment of 12,000 cigarettes, he was immediately taken into custody. Feishan Wang was arrested at the same time in front of 144-05 29th Road in Queens. Both Wang’s have been involved in this particular illicit operation since June 2008, which included 12 undercover deals involving the purchase of untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit tax stamps.
During the nine month investigation, Guang Ming Wang purchased a total of 31,980 cartons of untaxed cigarettes for $846,000 and also sold ATF 103,950 counterfeit NY State/City tax stamps for $4,000. After the undercover sales of cigarettes, both Wang’s were observed by agents unloading the contraband at two locations, 144-05 29th Road and 135-06 62nd Ave. in Queens. Federal search warrants were executed at both locations after the arrests.
The cartons sold to Wang contained a total of 319,800 individual cigarette packs, which at a price of $10 per pack had a retail street value of more than $3.1 million dollars in New York City. The counterfeit New York tax stamps are worth $4.25 each, bringing their street value to over $440,000. It is estimated that the defendants conspired to deprive New York State and City of at least $1.8 million dollars in tax revenue through their actions.
Mr. Turk said, “In these hard economic times, selling untaxed or counterfeit taxed cigarettes are putting our law abiding merchants at a huge disadvantage. The legal tax revenue collected on tobacco products goes towards improving our school, our highways and our quality of living. The selling of untaxed cigarettes must be closely watched and snuffed out as soon as possible.”
The defendants are initially being charged with conspiracy to violate the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act and could face up to 5 years in prison on these charges. Additional charges are expected to be filed by the office of Benton Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York whose office will be prosecuting the case.