Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

May 6, 2013: Chinese National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Smuggling Counterfeit Tobacco Products in the U.S.

OCI Small Clear Seal

Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release


For Immediate Release
May 6, 2013

United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
Contact: Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Lin Xiao Wei, 33, a Chinese national, was sentenced on Friday to 16 months in federal prison for importing counterfeit tobacco products into the United States from China, earmarked for Rhode Island. In February 2013, Wei admitted to the court that in February 2012, he arranged for the shipment of a 20-foot cargo container containing counterfeit cigarettes from China to the United States.

Wei, who has been detained since his arrest in Miami on June 4, 2012, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on February 1, 2013, to one count of causing the sale of counterfeit tobacco products.

Wei's sentence was announced by Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, and Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.

At the time of his guilty plea, Wei admitted to the court that he arranged for the purchase and shipment from China to the United States of a 20-foot cargo container of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes. The cargo container, which shipping documentation claimed contained 696 cartons of leather products, was shipped from a port in China on March 27, 2012.

According to information presented to the court, between the time Wei agreed to ship the fraudulent tobacco products to the U.S. and the arrival of the cargo container through a port in Miami on April 27, 2012, several wire transactions were sent to Wei for the cost of the product and associated shipping fees. Upon arrival in Miami, FDA-OCI and Homeland Security Investigations agents seized the container.

According to information presented to the court, on June 3, 2012, Wei met at a Miami hotel with a confidential informant who was working with investigators, and with an undercover FDA-OCI Task Force agent from Rhode Island. Wei discussed the shipment of the fraudulent tobacco products, as well as previous of counterfeit pharmaceutical products and the availability of other fraudulent products.

U.S. Attorney Neronha commended the FDA-OCI Rhode Island Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Rhode Island State Police, East Providence Police and North Providence Police for their efforts in this multi- jurisdictional investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard B. Myrus and Adi Goldstein.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.


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