One of the reasons people are so outraged over the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York City was the fact that NYPD officers gave him such a hard time over allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes or “loosies” on the street. Some may believe that the selling of loosies is a serious crime due to the fact that the NYPD choked the life out of a man over it. A recent arrest would let one know that selling untaxed cigarettes does not warrant the death penalty.
67-year-old Michael Zekry of Staten Island was busted recently with over 2,500 cartons of untaxed cigarettes. Apparently, police have been following Zekry since May 2014, though their reason is not yet known. Zekry was stopped by police in his Ford Econoline van outside of his New Springville home. Zekry allegedly told police that he moves the cigarettes throughout Staten Island and Brooklyn every ten weeks. He told police, “I go to Virginia every 10 weeks, I make $5,000 to $7,000 on a load, a carton sells between $40 to $50, you got a good one! I’m out of business now.”
After executing a search warrant on Zekry’s home, police officers uncovered 500 more cartons of cigarettes. All of the cartons together total approximately 517,200 loosies. Reportedly, if Zekry had sold all of the cigarettes, the city and state would have lost $150,000 in tax revenue.
Zekry has been charged with tax fraud for selling the untaxed cigarettes, a felony offense. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison for the crime.