An Ozone Park man has been charged with selling untaxed cigarettes directly across the street from the office of District Attorney Richard Brown.
Jose Urena, 45, was allegedly spotted delivering cartons of cigarettes to the corner newsstand across the street from the DA’s Kew Gardens office. Some of the cigarette packs in the bag allegedly bore counterfeit New York tax stamps.
According to the criminal charges, Detective-Investigator John Warner was returning from court to his office at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road at approximately 10:15 a.m. on April 17, when he allegedly observed Urena delivering a bag appearing to contain cigarettes to a corner newsstand at 80th Avenue and Queens Boulevard. An inspection of the bag and two additional bags in the vehicle that Urena arrived in allegedly revealed that the bags contained 41 cartons — 410 packs — of cigarettes. It is additionally alleged that 350 of the packs bore purported Virginia tax stamps on them and not the joint State of New York/City of New York tax stamps required to be present on cigarettes possessed for sale in New York. The remaining 60 packs allegedly bore counterfeit joint New York state and city tax stamps.
At the time of his arrest, $5,532 in cash was allegedly recovered from Urena on his person and from his car, and he allegedly confessed the scheme to the investigators.
At his home later in the day, investigators allegedly recovered 123,830 counterfeit joint state and city tax stamps with various tax numbers displayed that were affixed on 774 rectangular wax sheets, as well as records that indicated the delivery of various cigarette brands to individuals, a money counter, $3,546 in cash, a heater/iron and a small bag of cocaine.
Urena, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was arraigned on criminal complaints charging him with first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of forgery devices, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and violating the New York State tax law.