3 Arrested For Tobacco Smuggling

JONESBORO (KAIT) It began with an Arkansas Tobacco Control agent being in the right place at the right time.

As he watched three men load tobacco products into a vehicle in Memphis, they then drove into Arkansas with the untaxed stuff.

ATC Agent Bo Hickey, "It was not cigarettes, cigarettes have an Arkansas tax stamp on the bottom as well as other states. The other tobacco products being cigars, blunt wraps, smokeless tobacco and others do not have that tax stamp."

The group was seen obtaining product at Malani Enterprise in Memphis.

An ATC agent followed these three men, Aziz Jiwani, Mohsin Salman, and Ashish Aatar to the BP on Parker road where they were arrested by agent Bo Hickey and Glenn Redding.

Jonesboro Police Officer Brad Hicks assisted and provided transport to the Craighead County jail.

Hickey, "Hicks saw us make the arrest and came over to assist Our cars are not equipped to carry prisoners, he had a car with a cage and took them to the Craighead County Jail."

Hickey says these gentlemen could be facing a pretty hefty fine and possible some jail time.

The trio has been charged with possession of untaxed tobacco products a class C felony and purchasing from an unlicensed dealer a class B misdemeanor.

A class C could get you up to 10 years and a 10 thousand dollar fine. a class C  could cost you 90 days in a county jail and a fine up to 500 dollars.

I spoke with the owner of the BP, Sam Khimaini, he says it was a mistake on the part of the accused.

However he is considering action against the store in Memphis.

Hickey says this type of crime is growing.

"It is becoming more common, it is not something we see every day but it is something we see frequently."

The owner, Sam Khimaini told me there was no connection with the accused.

But each man claimed to be a BP employee in a different location around Region 8.

The three will appear in court on April 23.