Man gets three years in prison for contraband cigarettes

OXFORD — An Arkansas man has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the trafficking of contraband cigarettes.

James B. Trosper, of Rogers Ark., pleaded guilty in 2011 to three counts involving the scheme.

WTVA-TV reports Trosper was sentenced in federal court in Oxford.

Prosecutors said Trosper and others were involved in a multi-state scheme to defraud federal officials and the states out of more than $1 million in tobacco taxes and related fees.

Trosper also was ordered to pay $93,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said cigarettes were stolen from manufacturer Philip Morris in a series of warehouse burglaries and truck hijackings from 2004 to 2006, including the theft of the $2 million of cigarettes on Oct. 16, 2006, from the truck stop parking lot in Kentucky.

In court documents, prosecutors said Trosper owned and operated Delta-Ozark Enterprises, a cigarette warehouse and distribution center in Grove, Okla., and did business in Tupelo and Memphis, Tenn.

Prosecutors said others in the scheme created false documents to make it appear tobacco products were being sold in Mississippi when they actually were being sold elsewhere.

Federal agents raided a Tupelo warehouse owned in 2009. They seized thousands of cartons of cigarettes on which no state or federal taxes had been paid.

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