Panama City Man Investigated for Smuggling Cigars

Panama City - A Panama City man is under investigation by the IRS for allegedly illegally selling untaxed cigars to wholesalers in other states. And apparently it was a pretty lucrative venture.

The investigation centers on Ehab Ahmed, who owns the Panama City Wholesale Supply on Beach Dr. Law enforcement officials say they seized evidence from Ahmed's home that proves he's guilty of conspiracy to defraud the united states, mail fraud, money laundering and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements.

In 2010, a number of undercover agents contacted Ahmed wanting to buy untaxed cigars. They said they could sell them cheaper in Georgia, which charges a 14% cigar tax, and compete with bigger retailers. Ahmed allegedly sold the undercover officers large orders of cigars, for as much as a couple hundred thousand dollars a load, until October of last year, when authorities raided the operation.

Investigators believe Ahmed earned at least a million dollars from October 2010 to August 2011 making these types of transactions. But they say Ahmed's bank records show he never deposited more than 10-thousand dollars at a time because the bank has to notify the IRS of any transaction over 10-thousand dollars.

We tried to talk to Ahmed , but he was not at his home or at Panama City Wholesale Supply Thursday afternoon.

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