Seven accused of smuggling liquor to Canada

May 06, 2000|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

In a modern bootlegging case, federal investigators say seven men from New York smuggled 39,000 cases of vodka, rum and whiskey from Maryland to Canada, costing Canadian authorities more than $5.8 million in excise duties and taxes.

The men allegedly traveled from New York to Maryland to load trucks and vans with liquor, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

They then smuggled the booze across the northern border, where they could sell it on the Canadian black market, said Special Agent Mike Campbell, a spokesman for the Baltimore office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Campbell said ATF agents began investigating after agency regulators noticed several Maryland liquor stores buying unusually large quantities of alcohol. No stores face charges.

One of the seven defendants, David B. Pasquantino of Niagara Falls, N.Y., was arrested by ATF agents in Maryland on Wednesday, Campbell said.

Five other defendants were arrested in New York and Canada on Wednesday and Thursday. They are Carl J. Pasquantino and Cosmo D. Candido, both of Niagara Falls; Arthur "Butch" Hilts of Sanborn, N.Y.; Francis A. Gillotti of Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Terry Fraser of Westland, Mich.

Campbell said police were looking for the seventh man, Gerard T. Ciccone of Tonawanda.

The men were indicted on federal wire-fraud charges for allegedly arranging by phone to buy large quantities of liquor from stores in Hagerstown, Mount Airy, Cascade and Lutherville, according to court papers.

Ciccone also faces a firearm charge for allegedly carrying a 12-gauge shotgun as he drove the alcohol to the border, federal investigators charge.

A federal grand jury charged the men in April, but the indictment was sealed until yesterday.

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