Man busted with 2,701 cartons of untaxed cigarettes

- A Virginia man could face $1.6 million in fines after he was caught with more than half-a-million contraband cigarettes in Brooklyn.

New York tax officials say the car he was driving had been under surveillance and in a garage.  They arrested Derar Hajjat, 30, of Chincoteague, Virginia.

He was charged with three cigarette tax-related felonies.  Hajjat was released on his own recognizance. A court date has yet to be scheduled.

In addition to the criminal charges, he faces fines of up to $600 per carton seized.  That could amount to more than $1.6 million in fines.  It was unclear if Hajjat had a lawyer.

The cigarettes had official Virginia tax stamps but not the New York State and New York City tax stamps required by law.

“This arrest should serve as a warning to those who traffic in contraband cigarettes,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “We’ll continue to work with NYPD—and all our law enforcement partners—to ensure that those who ignore state tax laws are brought to justice.”

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