Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Wad Alkhiamy, (DOB 4/2/52) of Johnston, pled nolo contendere yesterday before Superior Court Justice Jeffrey A. Lanphear to possession of unstamped cigarettes. Alkhiamy is the owner and operator of AJ’s Variety Store located at 1031 Plainfield Street in Johnston. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Alkhiamy paid $25,000 in restitution to the Rhode Island Division of Taxation and the Rhode Island State Police and forfeited the contraband cigarettes.

In Rhode Island, as in many states, each pack of cigarettes cannot be sold until it is stamped with a special state tax stamp which shows that tax has been paid on the cigarettes, as is required by law. Under Rhode Island General Laws chapter 44 20, the sale of contraband cigarettes is strictly prohibited.

Had the case proceed to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Alkhiamy was in possession of unstamped cigarettes for sale in his store. Alkhiamy was arrested on November 8, 2011 as part of a sweep conducted by the Rhode Island State Police and the Department of Revenue. Upon execution of a search warrant, Rhode Island State Police detectives and Department of Revenue agents found unstamped and Virginia stamped cigarettes in the store and in the defendant’s home and automobile. All contraband cigarettes were seized and ordered destroyed by the court.

“Cigarette taxes make up a significant portion of tax revenue for the State of Rhode Island. We have an obligation that all our retailers play by the same rules, follow the law and collect the tax for the State of Rhode Island. I commend the work of the Rhode Island State Police and the Division of Taxation for making this a priority and holding retailers accountable,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.

“The message is clear The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, the Rhode Island State Police, and the Rhode Island Division of Taxation will not tolerate violating the state’s tax laws,” said Rhode Island Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan. “Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Colonel Steven O’Donnell have been relentless in their efforts to crack down on wrongdoers so that Rhode Island can provide a fair and level playing field for the many retailers who obey the law and pay the appropriate tax that’s due,” Sullivan added.

Washed-up cigarettes could prove lethal for south coast sea life

Discount cigarettes silk cut lights

A clean up operation is ongoing on Chesil Beach, Dorset GETTY

A clear up continued on Chesil Beach in Dorset yesterday where thousands of cartons of Marlboro have floated in from a storm hit cargo ship.

Officials from HMRC and the UK Border Agency have joined the Dorset Waste Partnership in the operation and warned scavengers not to help themselves.

Bob Gaiger of HMRC said “From what I can gather they re saturated cigarettes and people will hardly be able to smoke them.

“Common sense dictates that the cigarettes are not going to be worth smoking, even if people managed to dry them out.”

The load of 11 million cigarettes fell from the Danish registered Svendborg Maersk last week in the Bay of Biscay.

The cargo, which was being shipped from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka, washed up in Axmouth in Devon over the weekend and also at Portland in Dorset.

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This is an apocalyptic environmental disaster

Steve Trewhella, conservationist

More are expected over the next few days.

Those collected will be burnt at a power station to produce electricity for the national grid, Mr Gaiger said.

Yesterday conservationist Steve Trewhella warned the cigarettes could contaminate the water and poison wildlife.

The campaigner, 49, from nearby Wareham said “Just one cigarette butt can contaminate three litres of sea water and it is very toxic to animals when they are in contact with sea water.

“There are millions of cigarettes all over Chesil Beach at the moment and the beach is 19 miles long.

“This is an apocalyptic environmental disaster.”