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Lackawanna man sentenced for untaxed cigarettes

A Lackawanna man was sentenced this week in Erie County Court to five years’ probation in connection with more than 1,200 cartons of untaxed cigarettes seized last year from a storage facility he rented in West Seneca and a vehicle he was driving.

Murad Elmathil, 31, of Lehigh Street, also was ordered by Judge Kenneth F. Case to perform 250 hours of community service.

In addition, he signed a confession of judgment for the $63,622 in state taxes on the 1,233 cartons of contraband cigarettes.

Elmathil pleaded guilty in December to third-degree criminal tax fraud for 630 cartons seized by state tax agents executing a search warrant on April 25, 2014 at the storage facility.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing and transporting unstamped, untaxed cigarettes for 603 cartons found when state tax agents and Erie County sheriff’s deputies stopped the vehicle he was driving Oct. 26, 2014 on the Thruway near Angola.

He told the officers he had purchased the cigarettes in North Carolina.