August 18, 2006
Peter Page ( Trenton P.D.)
Trenton Police and NJ Taxation Division Target
( TRENTON ) -- Acting New Jersey Division of Taxation Director Carol O'Cleireacain and Trenton Police Director Joseph Santiago announced that a series of arrest warrants were executed today in Trenton by officers of the Division of Taxation and the Trenton Police Department in an investigation into the sale of untaxed cigarettes. The investigation was begun by the Division of Taxation's Office of Criminal Investigation in response to complaints by local businesses concerning the sale of untaxed cigarettes on street corners.
"This cooperative investigation led to the arrests of numerous individuals who allegedly had been selling illegal cigarettes and not collecting or paying the required cigarette taxes," said acting Director O'Cleireacain.
All cigarettes used or sold in New Jersey must have tax stamps affixed, proving that the state's tax of $2.575 per pack has been paid. In New Jersey , it is illegal to sell or possess cigarettes purchased in other states or over the internet without paying all requisite taxes due to New Jersey . Untaxed cigarettes are illegally sold at prices well below the price at which law-abiding merchants can sell their products.
"This operation is another example of the Trenton Police Department's many and effective law enforcement partnerships,'' said Director Joseph Santiago. "The Treasury Department is responsible for protecting the lawful revenues of the State of New Jersey and we are responsible for rooting out crime in Trenton . Both agencies met their responsibilities today by working together.''
The enforcement action resulted in the arrests of 10 people. The suspects are:
All of the suspects were charged with violations of the Cigarette Tax Act. They are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Willie Howlen was previously indicted in January 2006 on charges of selling untaxed cigarettes. That case is pending.
Acting Director O'Cleireacain praised the Trenton Police Department for its outstanding assistance in the investigation and help in making the arrests.
"This enforcement action is an example of our efforts to protect legitimate businesses that are following the rules and collecting the appropriate cigarette taxes on their sales and remitting that revenue to the state," Acting Director O'Cleireacain said.
"We are very pleased to be able to work with the Trenton Police Department in this fashion as part of our ongoing effort to work cooperatively with police in other jurisdictions throughout New Jersey ," O'Cleireacain said.
Officers from the Division of Taxation have worked on collaborative cigarette tax enforcement efforts in Atlantic City , Camden , Irvington and Newark.
Anyone with information regarding violations of the Cigarette Tax Act is encouraged to call the Division of Taxation, Office of Criminal Investigation's Tobacco Interdiction Program (TIP) Hotline at (609) 291-7153.