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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Sept. 6, 2011                   

ILLINOIS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CONTRABAND CIGARETTE CHARGES

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Jamal Adil Makhlouf, 54, of Burbank, Illinois, pleaded guilty today in federal court before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers to conspiracy to transport, receive, possess, purchase and sell contraband cigarettes.  Makhlouf admitted that from August 2010 until December 2010, he took part in a conspiracy with other known associates to purchase and transport contraband cigarettes in and around the Huntington area.  Makhlouf admitted that in August 2010, he arranged for the purchase and transport of approximately 120,000 contraband cigarettes from Huntington to Burbank, Illinois.  Makhlouf further admitted that on two occasions in December 2010, he conspired with other known associates to purchase approximately 468,000 contraband cigarettes in Huntington. 

The state cigarette excise tax on a carton of cigarettes in West Virginia is $5.50.  In the state of Illinois, the cigarette excise tax is $9.80 per carton.  The total tax loss as a result of the defendant’s conduct is $18,200.

Makhlouf faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on November 21, 2011. 
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hissam is handling the prosecution. 

This case is being prosecuted as part of a yearlong undercover operation that targeted illegal drugs and firearms crimes in the Huntington area. The operation was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and assisted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Huntington Police Department, and various other law enforcement agencies. It was announced to the public in March after a grand jury returned indictments against 55 defendants.

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