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Va. cigarette store owner pleads guilty

Wednesday - 4/17/2013, 4:50pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The co-owner of two Richmond area tobacco stores has pleaded guilty to structuring bank deposits to conceal involvement in illegal cigarette trafficking.

Fifty-five-year-old Loveleen Khare of Powhatan County faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday. A plea hearing for her husband, Jayant Khare, was postponed after his lawyers failed to show up in federal court. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson said the lawyers will be summoned to court to explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt.

According to court papers, the Khares own the Cigarettes America and Cigarettes America Plus stores. A Homeland Security agent's affidavit filed in the case says they stockpiled cartons of cigarettes that were transported out of state.

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