The attorney representing David Cooper, a Russell Springs businessman, on federal charges of engaging in the apparent conspiracy to engage in contraband cigarette trafficking responded to the charges this afternoon.
David Markus, of Markus and Markus law firm out of Florida, sent the following statement in an email to the Community Voice:
“The feds must have been smoking something other than Mr. Cooper’s cigarettes when they charged this case. Mr. Cooper is innocent. We are looking forward to exposing this case for what it really is– total BS. To call this case petty — which centers on a 5 month period over 5 years ago involving a different company than Tantus — is giving it too much credit. During these difficult times, does our government really have nothing better to do than go after a pillar of the Kentucky community, who employs hundreds of people? Mr. Cooper is one of the good guys. What a waste, but this is what happens when the federal government is in bed with big tobacco. When we win, an apology won’t be enough.”
The press release regarding the charges is below.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A Russell Springs, Kentucky man was indicted by a federal grand jury meeting in Bowling Green, Kentucky yesterday on a single charge of conspiracy to engage in contraband cigarette trafficking announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
David B. Cooper, age 46, is charged with knowingly conspiring to commit an offense against the United States by means of possession and receipt of contraband cigarettes. According to the indictment, between March 2007 and August 2007 in Russell County, Kentucky and elsewhere, the defendant Cooper, as owner and operator of DS Marketing, LLC, knowingly possessed contraband cigarettes in quantities greater than 10,000, which bore no evidence of the payment of the applicable state excise tax stamps.
Further, from March of 2007 to August 2007, Cooper’s company, DS Marketing, located in Russell Springs, Kentucky, was an unlicensed tobacco distribution company that sold and shipped unstamped cigarettes to retail customers primarily through mail order and telephone. The indictment further alleges that from March 2007 to about August 2007, Cooper and his co-conspirators defrauded the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and other states, of approximately $97,487.80 in state excise, sales, and use taxes, including approximately $43,241.97 that involved the sale of unstamped cigarettes manufactured by Cooper’s company Tantus Tobacco, LLC, located in Russell Springs, Kentucky.
If convicted at trial, Cooper faces no more than five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a three year period of supervised release. He is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, in Bowling Green, on October 9th at 11:00 a.m.
This case being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Micah R. Reyner and was investigated by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).