A Baldwinite was one of 17 people charged with taking part in an untaxed cigarette trafficking enterprise that operated in Nassau County, New York City, Westchester and other states, Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced Nov. 28.
Ahmed Alsayedi, a 43-year-old Baldwinite, was arraigned in Queens County Supreme Court on multiple charges including second- and first-degree money laundering and possession of more than 30,000 unstamped cigarettes, according to court records. Most of the other defendants are from Queens.
“As we allege, the defendants ran a massive criminal enterprise that trafficked over 18 million untaxed cigarettes into New York, cheating New Yorkers out of over $3 million in taxes,” Underwood said in a statement.
The ring allegedly trafficked more than 18 million cigarettes from low-tax states, such as North Carolina and Virginia, to various parts of New York, according to Underwood. The attorney general estimates the state and New York City loss $3 million in tax revenue from the alleged scheme.
Investigators took down the ring after wiretapping the defendants, Underwood said, who spoke in a cryptic and coded manner to avoid detection by law enforcement — for example, they referred to Virginia as “the V” and North Carolina as “the North.”