Cigarette Smugglers Caught In Act

SNOW HILL — Four individuals were arrested on cigarette smuggling charges in April during a three-day sting carried out in Worcester County by the state Comptroller’s Office.

During the sting operation, agents seized a total of 24,750 packs of contraband cigarettes and three vehicles. The seized cigarettes were valued at more than $159,000.

Each suspect was charged with willful transportation of unstamped cigarettes, a felony that carries a mandatory fine of $150 for each carton and a possible sentence of up to two years. Each was also charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell unstamped cigarettes, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Among those arrested was Hassan Ali Ghamlouch, 27, of Jersey City, N.J. On April 15, agents seized 6,680 packs of contraband cigarettes and a 2011 GMC Denali during a stop on Route 13 in Pocomoke. The confiscated cigarettes were worth $43,086. Also arrested during the sting was Mohammed Ali Mohsin Elroubat, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y. On April 18, agents seized 4,480 packs of cigarettes and a 2013 Volkswagen Passat during a traffic stop at Routes 12 and 113 in Snow Hill.

In a single stop on April 18, comptroller’s agents seized 13,590 packs of unstamped cigarettes along with a 2012 Honda minivan during a stop on Route 13 in Pocomoke. Arrested during that stop were Haisheng Sun, 30, and Lan Kun, 30, both of Flushing, N.Y.