Tobacco ring busted and prosecuted by Georgia's Attorney General

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In a press release issued by Georgia Attorney General Same Olens, his office has recovered over $550,000 in tax revenue for Georgia.

According to the Attorney General's office, a three year investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Atlanta Field Division uncovered the illegal tobacco trafficking ring, which spanned several counties. The defendants were arrested on and shortly after October 19, 2011, for violations of state law involving the illegal possession, sale and distribution of contraband cigarettes. The defendants avoided the payment of state excise taxes on cigarettes by knowingly purchasing untaxed cigarettes which had counterfeit excise tax stamps.

"Through swift and aggressive prosecution of these defendants, we have recovered over $550,000.00 in tobacco tax revenue for the State of Georgia," said Attorney General Sam Olens in the release. "In addition to paying their debts to the State, these criminals have been put out of business. I commend Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier for his excellent work and appreciate the assistance of our federal and state partners in this effort."

42 of the 50 defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

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