Auditor says auction on Oct. 27

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2009

State Auditor Stacey Pickering says nearly 1 million cartons of contraband cigarettes will be auctioned off on Oct. 27.

Pickering says the proceeds will go to the state and other jurisdictions involved in a two-year investigation into a multistate, multi-country blackmarket cigarette operation.

The announcement came Wednesday in Tupelo.

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The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo reports that the cigarettes were seized in two Tupelo area warehouse raids last spring.

No indictments in the case have been made public.

However, the government, in documents seeking forfeiture of money and an airplane, named Tupelo businessmen Jerry Burke and Randy Benham as alleged participants in the scheme to sell the cigarettes.

Court records show Burke is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Greenville on Nov. 24 to enter a plea in the case.