Tobacco

Republic Continues to Combat Counterfeit Rolling Paper

Two charged with federal crimes for allegedly trafficking in fake goods
Photograph: Shutterstock

DALTON, Ga. — Federal law enforcement officers have arrested two Georgia businessmen, charging them with, among other things, allegedly trafficking in counterfeit goods, including branded cigarette rolling paper, according to officials with Republic Tobacco.

In recent months, executives with Glenview, Ill.-based Republic Tobacco have declared a focus on combating the proliferation of counterfeit goods, saying they actively assist law enforcement by engaging with private investigators nationwide who coordinate with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs officials and other federal, state and local law enforcement and task forces where available.

In a Jan. 13 announcement, Republic Tobacco officials said Irafanali Nisarali Momin and Shiba I. Momin (also known as Saguftabanu F. Momin), the owners and operators of EC Wholesale, Dalton, Ga., were indicted Dec. 19, 2019, on 39 federal criminal charges in the Northern District of Georgia. The Momins were charged with, among other crimes, allegedly conspiring to traffic and intentionally trafficking in counterfeit goods, including TOP and JOB brand cigarette papers. Federal agents arrested the Momins on Jan. 8, with the court subsequently setting a $25,000 bond for each defendant. The government made the indictment public Jan. 9.

Each defendant faces up to a total of 395 years in prison and $31.35 million in fines.

“Where appropriate, we bring to the criminal authorities evidence of the importation, distribution and sale of counterfeit products and we frequently file civil actions as well,” the company said. “Republic’s commitment to defending its brands, fighting counterfeiting and protecting consumers from misleading products is ongoing throughout the country.”

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