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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 21, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 
 

Division of Criminal Justice - ABC Enforcement Targets Illegal Sale of Alcohol and Tobacco at South Jersey Warehouse

Law Enforcement Raid Nets More than 20,000 Cases of Alcohol, Beer and Wine... Untaxed Cigarettes... Sold to Area Restaurants w/o License...


TRENTON -Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, today announced that an ongoing investigation targeting the unlawful sale of alcohol, wine, and beer by a Korean-based liquor warehouse in Camden County has resulted in the confiscation of more than 20,300 cases of untaxed alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. As a result of the issuance of court-authorized search warrants, two individuals associated with the illegal operation have been charged with the unlawful sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

Director McKoy said the ongoing investigation is being coordinated by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in conjunction with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Division of Taxation. The investigation targeted the wholesale activities of a Korean-based warehouse engaged in the business of selling untaxed alcohol, beer and wine to various restaurants and retail outlets in the South Jersey/Pennsylvania area. It is charged that the warehouse operation, identified as JWTA, Inc., located at 1641 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill, Camden County, was operating without obtaining a wholesale license which would permit the legal sale of alcoholic beverages to wholesale and retail outlets.

“This raid and the confiscation of thousands of cases of untaxed alcohol and cigarettes sends a loud and clear message that the Division of Criminal Justice, along with the ABC and the Division of Taxation, will investigate, uncover, arrest and prosecute individuals who are circumventing the ABC licensing and taxing authorities for personal gain,” Attorney General Harvey said.

"The Treasury Department has supported the Taxation Division's efforts to enforce New Jersey's tax laws through civil means. We greatly appreciate the assistance and cooperation from the Division of Criminal Justice when civil matters become criminal acts," said State Treasurer John E. McCormac.

According to Criminal Justice Director McKoy, the undercover aspect of the investigation ended with the Jan. 20 law enforcement raid on the Route 70 warehouse and the confiscation of more than 20,300 cases of untaxed liquor, beer, sake, wine, and assorted other alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. While conducting court-authorized search and seizure warrants, State Investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice charged Kye C. Maeng, 51, Dartmouth Road, Cherry Hill (identified in official documents as a part owner of JWTA, Inc.) and Toyanhee Cho (age and address unavailable pending positive identification), with the unlawful possession, sale and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages without a license.

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control determined that JWTA, Inc. applied for the transfer of a New Jersey Plenary Wholesale License in July, 2001. The ABC denied the application on the grounds that a state issued wholesale license is not transferable. Currently, JWTA is unlicenced and cannot legally sell, service or distribute alcoholic beverages to New Jersey wholesale or retail establishments. ABC Director Jerry Fischer noted that ABC civil investigators and auditors and state investigators with law enforcement authority will continue to target the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages.

Attorney General Harvey noted that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Division of Criminal Justice has implemented an enforcement initiative in concert with state, county and municipal law enforcement and regulatory agencies targeting the unlicenced and illegal sale of alcoholic beverages, underage drinking, and other violations of New Jersey alcoholic beverage laws and regulations.

Harvey and McKoy credited law enforcement personnel, civil investigators and auditors from the Division of Criminal Justice, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Division of Taxation. for their dedicated work in pursuing the continuing investigation. Assistant Attorney General David Brody, Supervisor, Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau, Deputy Chief State Investigator’s Carol Brennan and Michael Tarantino assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Unit, prepared search and seizure warrants and will assist in presenting the investigation to the State Grand Jury. Supervising State Investigator Michael Royle and State Investigator Brian R. Woolston conducted the investigation.

In the interest of investigative security and pursuant to established court requirements, the Attorney General’s Office, the Division of Criminal Justice and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control are limited in discussing specific details regarding the ongoing investigation and the alleged activities. All persons charged in criminal complaints are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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