PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Chinese national pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he smuggled more than $1 million worth of fake Marlboro cigarettes into the United States.
Lin Xiao Wei, 32, who is charged with selling, dispensing and fraudulently importing a counterfeit tobacco product, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Providence and was ordered held.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond noted that Wei had entered the United States on a visitor's visa and has no ties to the country, so he deemed him a flight risk. Wei did not request bail, but Almond said his public defender could request it later.
Federal prosecutors say a confidential source arranged for Wei, who uses the name "Marvin," to ship a 20-foot container of counterfeit Marlboros from China to Miami. The shipment was labeled as leather products headed for Rhode Island.
Prosecutors also say Wei discussed a deal to sell to the source tens of thousands of fake Viagra tablets for more than $1.3 million and said he would be able to make a counterfeit version of a new Nike sneaker before it was released in stores in the United States.