Virginia company and five individuals indicted on cigarette smuggling charges
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging five individuals and a Virginia-based company with unlawful cigarette smuggling, Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Chief Randolph J. Bernard announced today.
Udayappan Subramanian, 40, of Haymarket, Virginia; Joao Jose-Serrara Catarino, 78, of Statesville, North Carolina; Pedro Pablo Reyes-Diaz, 40, of Pembroke Pines, Florida; Alvin Alfonso Contreras , 43, of New Britain, Connecticut; Reynold Matthew Vaz, 35, a fugitive in Canada; and Jaya Company, LLC of Haymarket, Virginia, are alleged to have conspired to profit from the unlawful sale of contraband cigarettes. The indictment charges that the defendants transported large quantities of cigarettes across state lines for redistribution and sale. The cigarettes were acquired in Virginia, where the tax rate for cigarettes is one of the lowest in the nation, and sold in other states, including New York, which has one of the nation’s highest tax rates. The cigarettes were possessed and transported in West Virginia.
Tobacco retailer The Olde Stone Truck Stop, of Clear Brook, Virginia, which was owned by Jaya Company, LLC, owned and operated by defendant Subramanian, was responsible for the acquisition of the contraband. Jaya Company and Subramanian are alleged to have purchased millions of dollars worth of cigarettes from various wholesalers in the region, primarily with cash, before reselling them to out of state smugglers for a profit.
Each of the six defendants is charged with one count of “Conspiracy Involving the Trafficking of Contraband Cigarettes.” Subramanian is further charged with two counts of “Trafficking of Contraband Cigarettes.” Vaz is further charged with two counts of “Trafficking of Contraband Cigarettes.” Contreras, Reyes, and Catarino are further charged with one count each of “Trafficking of Contraband Cigarettes.” Each of the defendants faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Stein and Shawn Adkins are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. Homeland Security Investigations, the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the West Virginia State Police led the inquiry.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.