Duo Arrested For Smuggling Cigarette Cartons Into State

CARROLLTON – Two Brooklyn men were arrested Wednesday for transporting approximately 490 cartons of untaxed stamped cigarettes into the state.

According to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, the two men – Muad A. Almontaser, 21, and 19-year-old Gehad A. Almontaser – were identified during a traffic stop on Route 219 in Carrollton.

Cigarettes found hidden in the rear of the vehicle are believed to have come from Virginia illegally, potentially costing New York state approximately $21,315 in excise tax.

Both men were charged with third-degree criminal taxation fraud and criminal taxation transporting over 150 cartons.

The driver of the vehicle (police have not identified which of the two men was driving) was charged additionally with speed in zone and unlicensed operator.

Both men were arraigned in Salamanca Court and remanded to the Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. They are scheduled to appear in Carrollton Court on Saturday.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the New York State Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigations Division Cigarette Strike Force under the direction of Deputy Commissioner Risa Sugarman.