ATF arrests 9 in $20M SC cigarette ring - FOX Carolina 21

ATF arrests 9 in $20M SC cigarette ring

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ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An inter-state bust of contraband cigarettes led to the arrest of nine people in South Carolina on Wednesday.

According to Brian McGinn of the Western District of Virginia's United States Attorney's Office, several agencies conducted a three-year investigation into the sale and distribution of contraband cigarettes.

McGinn said the accused individuals had purchased untaxed cigarettes in the Western District of Virginia and then transported them for distribution to South Carolina. The members of the "conspiracy" paid approximately $20 million to undercover law enforcement officers for the cigarettes.

The agents that worked the investigation were from the United States Attorney's Offices for the Western District of Virginia and the District of South Carolina, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Department.  

The following people were charged in the bust, seven of which are South Carolina residents:

  • Anjay Patel, 35, of Spartanburg, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; trafficking in contraband cigarettes; and money laundering charges.
  • Joseph Emmanuel, 38, of Mauldin, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; conspiracy to dispose of cigarettes and not pay federal tax; conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit state tax stamps; trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes; sale or receipt of stolen goods; and money laundering charges.
  • Viresh Patel, 42, of Moore, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; trafficking in contraband cigarettes; and money laundering charges.
  • Purvinkumar Patel, 32, of Spartanburg, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; trafficking in contraband cigarettes; and money laundering charges.
  • Preston McCurley, 26, place of residence not available, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; conspiracy to dispose of cigarettes and not pay federal tax; conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit state tax stamps; trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes; sale or receipt of stolen goods; and money laundering charges.
  • Chris Moneyhan, 36, of Spartanburg, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes; conspiracy to commit money laundering; trafficking in contraband cigarettes; and money laundering charges.
  • Shilpaben Patel, 43, of Spartanburg, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Boss Ramsey, 30, of Cowpens, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Phil White, age and place of residence unavailable, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarette.

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