A North Carolina farmer was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for a smuggling operation that transported tobacco to Canada, according to the US Department of Justice.
A press release said Phil Howard, 55, was convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering and filing a false income tax return. The judge also ordered Howard to serve three years of supervised release and pay approximately $ 1 million in restitution to the United States.
The sentence was handed down on Thursday.
Documents and information presented to the court indicate that Howard made arrangements at least 231 times to transport tobacco from Wilson to the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Reservation near the Canada-U.S. Border. The co-conspirators then smuggled the tobacco up the St. Lawrence River and into the Mohawk Nation reserve of Kahnawake in Quebec, where it was turned into contraband cigarettes, authorities said.
In total, according to the press release, the conspiracy smuggled over 6 million pounds of tobacco into Canada, resulting in a tax loss for Canada of over $ 600 million. Court documents say Howard received payment in cash, cigarettes and threads, laundered more than $ 2 million, and failed to report it on his tax returns, including filling out false 2014 tax returns to 2018.