Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 17, 2013

Va. cigarette store owners set to plead guilty

RICHMOND, Va. —  The owners of two Richmond area tobacco stores are set to plead guilty to structuring bank deposits to conceal their involvement in illegal cigarette trafficking.

A plea agreement hearing is scheduled in federal court Wednesday afternoon for Jayant and Loveleen Khare of Powhatan County.

According to court papers, the Khares own the Cigarettes America and Cigarettes America Plus stores in suburban Richmond. An FBI affidavit filed in the case says they stockpiled cartons of cigarettes that were transported out of state.

The illegal smuggling of cigarettes from Virginia, which has one of the country’s lowest tobacco taxes, to high-tax states for resale on the black market is a growing problem.

The Khares are charged with breaking down hundreds of cash deposits to less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements.

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