WRAL Investigates

Goldsboro home searched in cigarette smuggling probe

Posted November 25, 2010 11:43 a.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2010 7:11 p.m. EST

— Federal agents seized financial records, correspondence and computers Nov. 17 from a Goldsboro home in the ongoing battle to limit cigarette smuggling from North Carolina.

Because North Carolina's cigarette tax is significantly lower than in most other states, smugglers buy cigarettes by the carton or case in the Tar Heel state, then sell them elsewhere and pocket the difference.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has said they have not even "scratched the surface" when it comes to cigarette smuggling in North Carolina.

ATF agents had been watching Scott Herring, and his online business, NCcigarettes.com, since 2007. They knew Herring was selling and shipping cigarettes out of state but had to determine if his sales exceeded the legal limit. An undercover agent was able to purchase cigarettes from Herring and get them shipped to Chicago.

Last week, they searched his home, at 117 Titleist Drive in Goldsboro, and collected documentation of his business transactions and investments.

According to the search warrant, Herring had shipped more than the legal limit of 50 cartons of cigarettes at a time over state lines.

No charges have been filed against Herring, and he did not want to comment about the case Thursday. He said he had shut down NCcigarettes.com months ago.