- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A jury trial has been scheduled for two New Jersey residents charged in a nearly $10 million cigarette trafficking scheme in Virginia.

A federal magistrate on Thursday scheduled the trial of 40-year-old Eyad Salahedin and 37-year-old Laila Alayat for May 18.

The defendants are accused of using shell companies to buy massive quantities of cigarettes from wholesale club stores in Virginia, which has the nation’s second-lowest cigarette excise tax. Officials said they then transported them to New Jersey for resale on the black market.

Authorities say that the day after the criminal complaint was filed last month, Alayat was arrested at a New York airport with a ticket to Jordan. Salahedin, a Jordanian citizen, allegedly dropped his co-defendant off at the airport and was arrested a short time later.

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