News and Press Releases

Two Men Sentenced in Cigarette Trafficking Operation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2013

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Florence, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Nathaniel Elmore, age 48 of Newark, NJ, and Charley Antonio Davis Jr, age 41 of Bishopville, South Carolina were sentenced today for their roles in an illegal cigarette trafficking ring believed to have smuggled over three million dollars worth of cigarettes between South Carolina and New York. Elmore used a front business called “The Cigar Room” in Florence, South Carolina to purchase cigarettes so that he could avoid paying the significantly higher taxes levied in his home state of New Jersey. He then used a series of specially modified vans to transport millions of cigarettes from Florence to New York City.

Elmore, the leader of the smuggling ring, pled guilty to one count of money laundering, a violation of 18 United States Code, Section 1957. He was sentenced to 32 months incarceration in the United States Bureau of Prisons. Davis, a driver and purchaser for the organization, entered a guilty plea to one count of failure to keep tobacco records, a violation of 26 United States Code, Section 5762(b), and was sentenced to six months probation. “Anybody out there who wants to cheat the tax system in place for cigarettes should take notice.” said United States Attorney, Bill Nettles. “I commend the law enforcement officers for their hard work as their task is more difficult because South Carolina is one of only two states that does not require tax stamps on cigarettes.”

The case was jointly investigated by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Internal Revenue Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office. “The illegal cigarette trade represents a real threat to government revenues and economies," said Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Field Office IRS-Criminal Investigation. "This collaborative investigation targets the smuggling and trafficking of cigarettes and the associated money laundering utilized to conceal illicit profits”.

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