GTPD Assists in Seizure of Nearly 8,000 Units of Untaxed Tobacco Products

The GTPD had received anonymous tips from concerned citizens that the Lucky 7 store located at 1741 Sicklerville Road in Sicklerville, NJ was allegedly selling tobacco products to minors including vaping devices and supplies.

The Gloucester Township Police Department (GTPD) contacted the NJ Treasury Office of Criminal Investigation with information over concerns on the sale of tobacco products at this location. The NJ Treasury Department is responsible for the oversight of the tobacco industry in New Jersey. On June 7, 2018 an unannounced inspection was conducted at the Lucky 7 by Special Agents and GTPD Investigation Bureau.  This unannounced investigation resulted in the seizure of 7,901 units of untaxed tobacco products, which resulted in signed criminal complaints against the businesses principal, Vipul Patel and Jayaben Patel.

The charges include possession of untaxed goods, failure to obtain a license, failure to file tobacco tax returns, and related charges. Each count is a Disorderly Persons Offense. The state also works to recover the tax due in addition to the criminal proceedings. This collaborative effort between the Gloucester Township Police and the NJ Treasury Office of Criminal Investigations is another example of law enforcement partnerships that successfully work to suppress crimes and improve public safety.

This latest investigation and seizure comes within weeks of the Gloucester Township Police Department’s announcement of an arrest in which 3,000 vape cartridges laced with marijuana were recovered.

“This latest investigation serves as yet another example that we will aggressively investigate illegal sales of tobacco and vape devices to minors and we are thankful to the residents who provided this valuable police information.  Our 3rd Gear Policing efforts go well beyond arrest, and we strive that our actions increase awareness that will spark conversations between parents and their children about tobacco use, vaping, and marijuana”, said Chief Harry Earle

ACCUSED:

Vipul Bhikhabhai Patel, DOB 03/18/1975 – Degas Court, Williamstown, NJ 08094

Jayaben Patel, DOB 08/20/1997 – Degas Court, Williamstown, NJ 08094

The following charges will be filed against Vipul Patel and Jayaben Patel in Gloucester Township Municipal Court:

NJSA 54:52-6b – Possession of untaxed tobacco products – Within the jurisdiction of the court, did have in his possession tobacco products on which the tax has not been paid.  This is contrary to and in violation of NJSA 54:52-6b, a disorderly persons offense

 NJSA  54:52-6e – Failure to obtain a NJ Tobacco Products Sales & Use Tax Certificate of Authority – Within the jurisdiction of the court, did fail to register and obtain a NJ Tobacco Products Sales & Use Tax Certificate of Authority with the NJ Division of Taxation as required by NJSA 54:50B-6.  This is contrary to, and in violation of NJSA 54:52-6e, a disorderly persons offense.

NJSA 54:52-6a- Failure to file a Tobacco Products Tax Return- Within the jurisdiction of the court, did fail to file any return or report required by any State tax law. This is contrary to and in violation of NJSA 54:52-6a, a disorderly persons offense

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