FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Fourteen people have been charged with illegally purchasing 77 million contraband cigarettes from undercover agents in Virginia and smuggling the cigarettes to New York.
Two are also accused of paying an agent posing as a hit man to kill a husband and wife whom they believed had stolen from them.
The indictments handed up Thursday in federal court in Alexandria are the culmination of a yearlong investigation.
Authorities say the smuggling ring paid $8 million plus guns and drugs to the undercover agents for the cigarettes.
Cigarette smuggling has increased in recent years as high taxes in New York and elsewhere have made the crime more profitable.
The defendants lived in Virginia, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia.