Sheriff’s Deputy Tip Aids Cigarette Bust

BERLIN – A tip from a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy on Tuesday led to the seizure of thousands of packs of contraband cigarettes flowing through the county.

A Brooklyn, N.Y. man was arrested for possessing and transporting unstamped, untaxed cigarettes in Maryland on Tuesday after Deputy Nate Passwaters observed him purchase a substantial volume of cigarettes from a Virginia store.

Passwaters then contacted the Maryland State Comptroller’s Office field enforcement office about the possible illegal activity. The deputy followed the vehicle and stopped the driver, later identified as Zaur Rakhamimov, 36, on Route 13 near Pocomoke. Comptroller’s Office field agents then arrived on the scene and seized 3,510 packs of cigarettes valued at over $20,000.

Rakhamimov was arrested and charged with possessing and transporting contraband cigarettes in the state of Maryland. The transporting charge is a felony that carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two years in jail, while the possession charge is a misdemeanor carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding one year.