Lehigh Valley

State police allegedly catch man with 91K untaxed smokes

Traffic stop turns up more than 400 cartons

U. SAUCON TWP., Pa. - A North Carolina man is facing charges after a traffic stop along Interstate 78 in Lehigh County turned up more than 90,000 untaxed cigarettes.

Pennsylvania State Police charged Adil Haouam, of Charlotte, with two counts of possessing unstamped cigarettes and a summary traffic offense following his arrest late Saturday night in Upper Saucon Township. District Judge Michael Pochron arraigned the 39-year-old Sunday morning, setting bail at $50,000.

A state trooper with the Fogelsville barracks first spotted Haouam’s eastbound Toyota Camry about 10:20 p.m. Saturday driving in the center lane with his right turn signal on, according to court records. The trooper allegedly watched Haouam merge to the left lane and drive for about two miles with his right turn signal still activated, according to records.

Following a traffic stop, the trooper said Haouam appeared nervous. The officer saw a cooler in the front seat area with food in the front seat, a backpack in a rear child seat and a “box-shaped bag” on the floor, according to records.

Haouam gave police “vague details” about his trip from Charlotte to Springfield, Mass. Charlotte is considered a “source city” for untaxed cigarettes, while Springfield is considered a “destination city,” according to authorities.

Police said Haouam shook his head “no,” when asked if he had any untaxed cigarettes in his car. A subsequent search of the trunk revealed 455 unstamped cartons of Newports or 91,000 cigarettes.

Haouam failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for March 27.


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