In three incidents over the last two weeks, Stafford County sheriff's deputies seized more than 1,400 cartons of cigarettes and $37,000 in cash.
In the first incident, deputies were alerted June 17 to a possible cigarette trafficker frequenting the Wawa stores in the southern end of Stafford County. Deputies found the suspect vehicle and made contact with the driver in the parking lot of the Warrenton Road Walmart.
The driver was identified as Zhen Pan, 34, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and deputies located 212 cartons of cigarettes and $1,035 in cash in the vehicle, the sheriff's office said in a news release.
Pan was arrested for possession with intent to distribute 200 or more cartons of cigarettes, authorities said. He was held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on $2,000 bond.
At 10:25 a.m. that same day, deputies received information that two men were purchasing multiple cartons of cigarettes. The subjects returned multiple times that morning to the Wawa at 105 Garrisonville Road and purchased five to six cartons each time, occasionally altering their appearance by changing shirts, the release said.
Deputies were able to obtain the vehicle and suspect description and began to canvas the area. A short time later they found the car at the Aquia McDonald’s. The occupants of the vehicle were identified as Furqan Akbar, 31, of Dumfries and Hasham Khan, 29, of Falls Church, the release said. A search of their vehicle revealed 70 cartons of cigarettes and $6,013 in cash.
Akbar and Khan were both released on summonses for possession with intent to distribute between 25 and 200 cartons of cigarettes.
At approximately 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 23, deputies saw a subject purchasing several cartons of cigarettes at the Lichfield Boulevard Wawa and leave in a Chevy sedan with Florida tags. Deputies then noticed the same vehicle later that morning at the South Gateway Wawa with approximately 10 cartons of cigarettes in the back seat and the same subject from earlier returning to the car with more cigarettes.
Deputies found 65 cartons of cigarettes in the vehicle trunk, 10 additional cartons in the passenger area and over $12,000 in cash, the release said. The investigation led to a hotel room and storage locker in Stafford County. Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit obtained search warrants for both these locations and recovered 1,120 more cartons of cigarettes and over $18,000 in cash, authorities said.
The occupants of the vehicle were identified as Christina Wang, 31, Qingan Liu, 29, and Qingping Liu, 32, all from New York, the release said. All three were charged with possession with intent to distribute 200 or more cartons of cigarettes and held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on a secure bond.