HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — 43 people were indicted Friday on 743 separate charges resulting from a year-long investigation into illegal cigarette trafficking.
In late 2015, the Henrico County Police Division began investigating cigarette trafficking in Henrico County because of a series of violent crimes that were associated with it.
According to police, a number of robberies, shootings and burglaries happened in direct relation to the illegal trafficking of cigarettes. The investigation eventually developed into a larger regional and multi-state operation.
The investigation incorporated more than 20 agencies including local, state and federal, law enforcement as well as corporate businesses.
The suspects utilized fraudulent papers to create 29 phony businesses in the Richmond area. These businesses were then used to purchase large amounts of tax-exempt cigarettes. THe cigarettes would then be transported out of state and resold for substantial profit.
The investigation encompassed over 600,000 cartons of cigarettes with an estimated value in excess of $30,000,000.
All of the indictments are for crimes that happened in Henrico County.
The following agencies participated in the investigation:
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms – Richmond
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Richmond
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington, DC
Homeland Security Investigations – Richmond
Homeland Security Investigations – Washington, DC
Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of State
Maryland Comptroller’s Office
Maryland State Police
Virginia Office of the Attorney General
Virginia Department of Taxation
Virginia State Corporation Commission
Virginia State Police
Albemarle County Police Department
Chesterfield County Police Department
Colonial Heights Police Department
Fairfax County Police Department
Hanover County Sheriff’s Office
Richmond City Police Department
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