http://www.queenstr ibune.com/ copblot/Counterf eitSmuggling. html
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced the
indictment of 27 people, including seven Queens residents, in a national
counterfeit tax stamp and cigarette smuggling operation.
Nicholas Yakoumakis, 27; Rafea Alnablsi, 41; Atef Gabr,48; Ammar Saleh, 26;
Juan Santiago, 20; Mohamed Sadiqi, 33; and Rashad Y. Saleh, 27, all from
Queens, were indicted on criminal conspiracy, trafficking contraband
cigarettes and money laundering charges.
Yakoumakis was also indicted on felony firearm and ammunition possession
An undercover storefront location designated as KG Wholesale was established
in King George, Va. in 2006. The storefront was wired for video and audio
surveillance to record the identities and activities of individuals
Undercover agents conducted more than 142 transactions totaling $6.1 million
for 295,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes destined for re-sale in New York
The accused allegedly sold or attempted to sell $6.2 million in counterfeit
cigarette stamps to the undercover agents. Yakoumakis allegedly traded two
handguns and ammunition to agents in exchange for cigarettes.
“These indictments should serve as a warning to others who may be tempted,
especially in light of the recent increase in the state cigarette tax, to
engage in trafficking in untaxed cigarettes. Each of these defendants faces
many years in prison and the Tax Department is committed to doing all that
it can to insure that other wholesale traffickers in bootleg cigarettes face
a similar fate. We are working with state and federal law enforcement
agencies to hold bootleggers accountable and we thank United States Attorney
Chuck Rosenberg for his aggressive prosecution of these cases,” NYDTF
Commissioner Robert L. Megna said.