Dec 3, 2014

Staten Island man busted with more than 2500 cartons of untaxed cigarettes *** Defendant smuggled smokes from Virginia *** STATEN ISLAND, NY – Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox today announced the arrest of a Staten Island man who possessed 2,586 cartons of illegal cigarettes he intended to sell to clients throughout Staten Island and Brooklyn. Following a seven-month investigation, MICHAEL ZEKRY, 67, was stopped in New Springville on Nov. 5 at 12:30 a.m. while driving a white Ford Econoline van. Inside the van were approximately 2,035 cartons of Virginia stamped cigarettes. A search warrant executed at the defendant’s apartment yielded another 551 cartons of Virginia stamped cigarettes. Additionally recovered from inside the apartment was $40,000 in cash and an electronic cash-counting machine. Investigators also seized the defendant’s Ford van and another vehicle. “Michael Zekry was a big-time cigarette smuggler who sold his contraband to clients across Staten Island, from the North Shore to the South Shore. He would do residential drop-offs, as well as deliver to grocery stores and nail salons. Months of dedicated police work by my NYPD Detective Squad has put him out of business and taken more than a half million illegal cigarettes off the streets,” said District Attorney Donovan. “I’m proud to be a member of the New York State Cigarette Strike Force and want to thank Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox for his agency’s assistance with this case.” Said Commissioner Mattox: “I commend District Attorney Daniel Donovan and his team for their commitment to fairness and their successful investigation of cigarette smugglers,” Commissioner Mattox said. “The New York State Cigarette Strike Force, announced by Governor Cuomo in March of this year, is an initiative that is already producing significant results thanks to a strong partnership betwe