Two Indians sentenced to two years imprisonment for smuggling fake cigarettes into US

Vastavam web: Two Indians have been sentenced to nearly two years of imprisonment by a federal court in Florida on charges of conspiring to smuggle counterfeit cigarettes into the United States.Besides Abhishek Shukla and Harish Shabhai Panchal, the two Indians, Jubilee Tobacco Industries Corp – an India-based company – was found guilty in the case. The company has been ordered to forfeit USD 300,000 to the US, the Department of Justice said today. The three have pleaded guilty to the charges.Payment for the shipment was made in instalments through international wire transfers to bank accounts in India and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

On November 1, 2016, the container arrived and was seized at the Port of Miami with the assistance of US Customs and Border Protection Officers.If distributed in the State of Florida, the untaxed importation would have an approximate value of USD 1.2 million, the Department of Justice said.Analysis conducted by FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Centre determined that the cartons, packs, and cigarettes were all counterfeit.

On June 9 last, the container arrived at the Port of Miami and was again seized with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection Officers, and turned over to FDA-OCI Special Agents. If distributed in the State of Florida, the untaxed importation would have had an approximate value of USD 3.2 million.Shukla and Panchal travelled to Miami in August 2017 to meet with the undercover agents to promote further business dealings. During the recorded meeting, they advised the agents that they had been partners for 12 years and personally oversaw the production of all the products being offered.