A Rome man was taken into custody Friday after being found in possession of a large quantity of untaxed cigarettes, as well as cocaine, marijuana and packaging materials.
For the past several months, the Rome Police Special Investigations Unit and the state Department of Tax and Finance – Criminal Investigations Division, have been conducting a joint investigation into the illegal possession, sales and transportation of untaxed cigarettes, Rome Police Det. Jeffrey M. Lanigan said.
On Friday at 8:39 a.m., investigators with the Criminal Investigations Division of the state Department of Tax and Finance confronted a suspect on Abbott Avenue, in the rear of 711 Kent St. A quantity of unstamped cigarettes was seen in a vehicle, Lanigan said. Detectives assigned to the Special Investigations Unit were contacted and responded to assist with the investigation and subsequent arrest.
Lanigan said Joseph R. Butler, 27, was discovered to be in possession of a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes, cocaine and an undisclosed amount of cash. A digital scale, quantity of marijuana and packaging materials were also seized, he said.
Butler was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony; as well as possession of 92 cartons of unstamped (untaxed) cigarettes in violation of Article 37 of the state Tax Law, a class E felony. Additional charges are pending by a county grand jury, Lanigan said.
Butler was held in city lockup until his arraignment in City Court.