Davie man charged with international cigarette smuggling - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Davie man charged with international cigarette smuggling

DAVIE, FL (WFLX) - Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Arturo Marrero, 47, of Davie, was charged and arrested Friday in connection with the smuggling of cigarettes out of the United States.

The indictment charges Marrero with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United states Code, Section §1349.

Marrero made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley Friday afternoon. The government requested that Marrero be detained prior to trial.

A detention hearing has been scheduled for September 22, 2010 at 10 a.m.

According to the indictment, Marrero and others smuggled cigarettes out of the Port of Miami. Marrero allegedly arranged for the purchase of thousands of cases of cigarettes and the transportation of those cigarettes into the Port of Miami.

Marrero then arranged for the purchase of other cargo, such as bolts of cotton yarn and office furniture, to be used as cover loads to conceal the cigarettes, which were re-packed with the cover load material.

Thereafter, false bills of lading for export were prepared that only declared the cover load material.

These bills of lading were presented to the shipping companies and overseas customs services.

Customs duties and taxes were based on the falsely declared cargo, thus no duties or taxes were paid on the cigarettes.

According to the indictment, from approximately February 2001 through April 2006, Marrero sent multiple shipments of the smuggled cigarettes to various European Union countries, resulting in millions of dollars of unpaid duties and taxes.

Mr. Ferrer commended the joint investigative efforts of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations special agents in Miami and agents from the German Customs Investigation Services, the Irish Office of Revenue Commissioners, Investigations & Prosecutions Division, Customs Investigation, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs of the United Kingdom and the Spanish Guardia Civil.

He also thanked the European Union Anti-Fraud Office, based in Brussels, Belgium for their outstanding contribution to the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Stone.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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