NYC man busted with 500,000 untaxed cigarettes in his van | NY Post
A Staten Island man was busted Thursday after police discovered thousands of dollars in untaxed cigarettes in his van, law enforcement sources said.
Michael Zekry, 67, was stopped in New Springville by police who were on his tail for several months, and busted him with over 2,500 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, according to a criminal court complaint.
Police had been keeping tabs on him since May 2014, but it wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the investigation.
Zekry was found inside a Ford Econoline van parked outside his home around 12:30 a.m. on Field Street and Forest Hill Road with the contraband, according to the criminal court complaint.
He admittedly boasted of his earnings to police, and told investigators he peddled the smokes across Staten Island and Brooklyn about every 10 weeks, the documents charge.
“I go to Virginia every 10 weeks, I make $5,000 to $7,000 on a load, a carton sells between $40 to $50, you got a good one! I’m out of business now,” he told arresting officers.
After cops executed a search warrant for his home, they uncovered 500 more cartons of untaxed cigarettes, the documents state.
That’s approximately 517,200 loose cigarettes.
If Zekry had sold the smokes, it would have resulted in a $150,000 loss in city and state tax revenue, authorities said.
He has been charged with tax fraud for peddling the tax-free smokes, which is considered a felony offense, law enforcement sources said.
He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
In July, Eric Garner tragically died after cops put him in an illegal choke-hold when they tried to place him under arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes.