N.Y. man charged in the smuggling of cigarettes

March 21, 2003

A 56-year-old New York man accused of driving a van full of untaxed cigarettes was stopped and arrested on Interstate 95 in Howard County on Wednesday by agents from the Maryland comptroller's office, officials announced yesterday.

Michael Zekry of Staten Island was stopped about 4 p.m. near Route 175. Agents reported finding 7,190 packs of cigarettes worth nearly $30,000 in the 1994 Ford van Zekry was driving. The agents seized the van, its contents and $7,000 in cash.

Zekry was charged with transportation of untaxed cigarettes - which is a felony - and with unlawful possession, a misdemeanor.

The maximum penalty is a two-year jail term and/or a $50-a-carton fine on the felony and a one-year term and/or a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor.

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