43 arrested in Henrico illegal cigarette trafficking bust

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.

Image courtesy of Henrico County Police

The following agencies participated in the investigation:

FEDERAL

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

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

LOCAL

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

CORPORATE

Altria

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