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Guilty Plea In Black-market Cigarette Scheme

A 50-year-old Alexandria man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Greenbelt to participating in a scheme that distributed more than 17 million black-market cigarettes.

Jose Moreno pleaded guilty to one count of extortion conspiracy involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes, federal prosecutors said. The maximum penalty for the offense is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Moreno is the second man to admit guilt in the scheme, which was disclosed by authorities last November, after then-Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and his wife Leslie, who days earlier had won a seat on the county council, were arrested in a sweeping corruption case. On Tuesday, Jack Johnson pleaded guilty to extortion and evidence and witness tampering. Leslie Johnson was scheduled to plead guilty to witness and evidence tampering earlier this month at a hearing that was canceled two days before it was to occur.

In April, Chun Chen, 34, of Bowie, admitted he was part of the cigarette smuggling scheme.

Officials said they learned of the cigarette smuggling ring, which prosecutors said cost the government more than $2.6 million in taxes, while investigating political corruption.

A county police sergeant, Richard J. Delabrer, 45, is also charged in connection with the cigarette scheme.

The term cigarettes, as normally employed, refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can be utilized like devices holding in other herbaceous plants, such as eugenia caryophyllatums. A cigarette is differentiated from a cigar by its modest sizing, utilization of treated leafage, and paper wrap, which is usually white hot, though other coloring materials are sometimes usable. Cigars are mostly compiled totally of whole-leaf tobacco plant.

Rates of cheap smokes changes widely, and have altered substantially over the course of human history since cigarettes were 1st wide used in the mid-19th century. While rates of smoke have over time leveled off or turned down in the highly developed world, they continue to up-rise in evolving states. Nicotine, the main psychotropic chemical substance in baccy and therefore cigarettes, has been shown to be psychologically habit forming, although it does not generate a physiologic addiction.

Cheap cigarettes usage by pregnant women has also been shown to stimulate birth defects, including mental and physical disabilities.