Trucker arrested for hauling almost 28,000 packs of untaxed cigarettes

Updated Apr 17, 2024
Untaxed cigarettes seized in Arkansas
Arkansas Tobacco Control

 Agents with Arkansas Tobacco Control and the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force seized a large quantity of illegal cigarettes in a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 on Wednesday, April 10.

A Central Arkansas Drug Task Force Agent conducted a traffic stop on a tarctor-trailer on I-40 near Lonoke about 26 miles east of Little Rock. A search of the vehicle revealed 27,940 packs of untaxed contraband cigarettes valued at more than $243,000.00 along with $4,142.00 in cash. 

The cigarettes and cash were seized and the driver, 35 year-old Emile Bangoura of Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested and transported to the Lonoke County Detention Facility. He was charged with possession of untaxed tobacco.

The 27,940 packs represent the second-largest seizure in Tobacco Control’s history. The largest took place in October 2023 when 32,671 packs of untaxed cigarettes were seized by agents during a traffic stop near Carlisle.  

“Untaxed illegal cigarette smuggling has significant financial effects on law abiding business,” said Trent Minner, who leads the Regulatory Division. “We have more than 5,200 active tobacco permits in Arkansas. These are businesses that pay taxes as required and are monitored to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations. The Arkansas Regulatory Enforcement Division will continue to work with, educate and develop lasting relationships with all our law enforcement partners to combat illegal cigarette trafficking and protect Arkansas businesses.”