Who's This Joel Camel?

Pennsylvania man Bing Feng Mai was all set to become the Tony Montana of the East Coast counterfeit cigarette scene. First he would have the fake cigs, then he would have the money, then he would probably have lung cancer. But possibly the women first.

One small hitch: he was busted making a large purchase (20 million faulty cigarettes) from undercover officers in Northern Virginia. Say hello to some jailtime.  From the Washington Times:

Contraband cigarettes lack required stamps for state and local taxes. In Virginia, the cigarette tax stamp required for each pack costs 30 cents. Law enforcement officials say traffickers pocket money by evading taxes and affixing phony stamps.

Authorities also seized nearly 10 million counterfeit cigarettes Mai kept in a storage facility in Springfield, according to court records. Tests showed that the cigarettes were fake versions of Philip Morris' Marlboro brand manufactured China.

The seizure has been called one of the largest ever of counterfeit cigarettes in the area. Officials say they try to crack down on such purchases because they products are unregulated and could contain toxins more pernicious than those already in regular cigarettes.

So rather than luxuriating in his glamourous fake cigarette empire, Mai likely faces up to 10 years in prison. A shame, as cigarettes are good currency in the joint.

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