A 40-year-old Oak Creek man is among nine people indicted by a federal grand jury in a case involving contraband cigarette trafficking and the sale of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps.
Mohammed Mazharuddin was charged with conspiracy and contraband cigarette trafficking. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment alleges that the defendants transported unstamped cigarettes from Wisconsin to Illinois in order to evade Illinois state and local taxes, according to a news release.
Collectively, they evaded between $1 million and $4.6 million, according to the news release. Officials said more than 2 million cigarettes may have been taken across state lines.
The U.S. Attorney's office announced the charges Friday after a year-long investigation.
"These contraband economies deprive revenue from the states at a time when it is gravely needed," said Bernard J. Zapor, special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, St. Paul Field Division.
Mazharuddin was the lone Wisconsin man; the rest were from Illinois.