FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 9 , 2001

Norma Estimbo Lacy
Public Affairs Specialist
Phone: 713/567-9388 Fax: 713/718-3389
E-Mail:
usatty.txs@usdoj.gov

NEW JERSEY MAN CONVICTED OF TRANSPORTING FRAUDULENT CIGARETTE TAX STAMPS & FALSE STATEMENT TO FBI

Dixie A. Morrow, Assistant U. S. Attorney
Phone: 956/723-6523

(LAREDO) U.S. Attorney Gregory A. Serres announced today that Jaime Rodriguez, 52, of Vineland, New Jersey, was convicted of transportation of fraudulent New Jersey cigarette tax stamps in foreign commerce (Count One) and of making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Count Two).
Guevara was indicted on March 20, 2001. A jury returned guilty verdicts following two days of trial testimony and argument.

On November 17, 2001, Rodriguez drove a rented Ford F-150 pickup truck to the
U. S. Border Patrol Checkpoint located on IH-35, approximately 15 miles north of Laredo. During primary inspection, a law enforcement canine alerted to the possible presence of contraband, and the vehicle was referred to secondary inspection. Following a second canine alert, Border Patrol agents searched the spare tire mounted beneath the bed of the truck, recovering 10 boxes containing 494, 460 tax stamps. The stamps were valued at $395,568, and would represent lost revenue to the State of New Jersey in that amount had they been used. After arrest, Rodriguez made a false statement to an FBI Special Agent falsely declaring that his fingerprints might be found on the tire and at least one of the boxes, because U. S. Border Patrol Agents made him touch the tire and box after he was detained. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment on Count One and a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment on Count Two.

The matter was investigated by the United States Border Patrol, the FBI, the U. S. Customs Service, and the State of New Jersey Department of the Treasury Division of Taxation, and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Dixie Morrow .
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