<< Return to News

Tobacco Control agents make second largest illegal cigarette seizure

  • Posted Date: 04/15/2024
  • Office: All DFA
  • News:

    April 15, 2024

    Scott Hardin, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
    501-352-9351, scott.hardin@dfa.arkansas.gov

    State Regulatory Agents make another historic seizure of illegal cigarettes
    Suspect arrested while transporting illegal cigarettes through Arkansas

    LONOKE COUNTY, Arkansas (April 15, 2024)  - Agents with Arkansas Tobacco Control and the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force seized a large quantity of illegal cigarettes on Wednesday, April 10th.

    A Central Arkansas Drug Task Force Agent conducted a traffic stop on a semi-truck and trailer on Interstate 40 near Lonoke. A search of the commercial motor vehicle revealed 27,940 packs of untaxed contraband cigarettes valued at more than $243,000.00 along with $4,142.00 in cash.  The cigarettes and cash were seized and the driver, 35 year-old Emile Bangoura of Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested and transported to the Lonoke County Detention Facility. He was charged with Possession of Untaxed Tobacco.

    The 27,940 packs represent the second-largest seizure in Tobacco Control’s history. The largest took place in October 2023 when 32,671 packs of untaxed cigarettes were seized by agents during a traffic stop near Carlisle.  

    Tobacco Control is a division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s (DFA) Regulatory Team. Along with Tobacco Control, the Regulatory Team includes Alcoholic Beverage Control, Medical Marijuana and the Arkansas Racing Commission.

    “Untaxed illegal cigarette smuggling has significant financial effects on law abiding business,” said Trent Minner, who leads the Regulatory Division. “We have more than 5,200 active tobacco permits in Arkansas. These are businesses that pay taxes as required and are monitored to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations. The Arkansas Regulatory Enforcement Division will continue to work with, educate and develop lasting relationships with all our law enforcement partners to combat illegal cigarette trafficking and protect Arkansas businesses.”

    Arkansas Tobacco Control was established in 1997 to regulate the sale of tobacco in the State of Arkansas and enforce all laws pertaining to tobacco.

    “DFA is proud of the work of our Regulatory Enforcement team, which consists of fully certified law enforcement officers,” said DFA Secretary Jim Hudson. “Through strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies, the Regulatory Enforcement Team has seized illegal cigarettes worth more than $550,000 in a matter of months.”

    Find more information on Tobacco Control at https://www.atc.arkansas.gov/.