Virginia News

Jun 17, 5:07 AM EDT

New Jersey woman pleads guilty in cigarette trafficking case


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A New Jersey woman charged in a nearly $10 million cigarette trafficking scheme in Virginia has pleaded guilty.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1V08TTm) 37-year-old Laila Alayat pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes and witness tampering charges on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond.

Alayat faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced in September.

Alayat and Eyad Salahedin, also of New Jersey, were indicted March 2 on the conspiracy charge after being accused of using shell companies to buy massive quantities of cigarettes from wholesale club stores in Virginia, which has the nation's second-lowest cigarette excise tax. Officials said they then transported them to New Jersey for resale on the black market.

Salahedin's trial date is set for Aug. 29.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com

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