The bust was part of a year-long investigation that one Maryland official described as a “lucrative form of organized crime.” The investigation included surveillance and “routine tobacco inspections” in which agents found “large quantities of untaxed” tobacco products, officials said.
Several recent raids were done at a storage facility and six retail shops in Baltimore and Prince George’s and Howard counties. Agents found a “large-scale operation to import and distribute untaxed tobacco products and cigarettes” in the area, according to a statement.
Officials said Monzurul Islam, 29, of Columbia and Mehboob Chowdhury, 37, of Capitol Heights were arrested and charged with smuggling untaxed tobacco into the state — which they would then sell to stores, according to authorities. Another man — Abdul Karim Rubel, 18, of Baltimore — was charged with a misdemeanor for selling tobacco products that weren’t taxed while working at a store in Northeast Baltimore, officials said.