The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office issued this press release on Tuesday to detail their bust of a counterfeit cigar ring:
Birmingham, Alabama - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with Swisher International, Inc. and John Middleton Company, Inc. began an investigation into hundreds of thousands counterfeit cigars, counterfeit packing and counterfeit labels being shipped into Jefferson County and assembled into counterfeit packaging, then distributed in the Southeast.
This long term investigation resulted in 8 search warrants being executed on July 23, 2009 at various locations around Jefferson County, Alabama, including 2 Convenience Stores, 2 Bingo Parlors, and 4 houses for evidence related to this Criminal Enterprise. The investigation revealed that these untested and unregulated tobacco products and their counterfeit labels, boxes and wrapping were being shipped in from China and India. Currently, any health risk by consumption of these unregulated products is unknown due to possible contaminants. National and international implications as a result of this Criminal Enterprise may result in additional charges in multiple jurisdictions.
The investigation revealed that this organized group imported hundreds of thousands of these cigars into Jefferson County and this hub then distributed them throughout the Southeast. The FDA and ICE are being notified of potential Federal Violations.
During these multiple raids, thousands of counterfeit cigars, packaging material, equipment, over 30 computers, numerous weapons, documents and other items were seized. All computers will be analyzed by the JCSO Computer Forensic Lab.
In addition to the 2 arrest, there is 1 Person of Interest that is being investigated for distributing these products locally, either knowingly or unknowingly. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone that may have purchased these potentially dangerous counterfeit products to immediately contact us on our tip line at (205) 731-2769. We are interested in getting these counterfeit products out of local stores. Also, anyone involved with this group, should also contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
The 2 main targets of this investigation are currently in the Jefferson County Jail for 6 Counts of Theft of Trade Marks - $100,000 Bond each for a total bond of $600,000. Additional charges are pending and additional arrests are pending the conclusion of the investigation. Jegil Dugger was currently out on Bond for Promoting Gambling at the time of his arrest.
Jegil Wilissac Dugger, 30 years old, residing in McCalla - Bond - $600,000