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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the convictions of Irene Castro-Fletes, age 44, and Marie Almaraz, age 49, both of whom operate retail businesses in Southern Oregon that specialize in Hispanic products, for violations of the state's tobacco tax laws. Irene Casto-Fletes, who owns and operates La Estrella Market in Phoenix, pled guilty on Tuesday to charges of Unlawful Distribution of Cigarettes and Unlawful Possession of Non-Listed Cigarettes. Marie Almaraz, who owns and operates Casa Latina in White City, pled guilty on Tuesday to a charge of Unlawful Possession of Non-Listed Cigarettes.
The cases were investigated and prosecuted by officials from the state's Tobacco Compliance Task Force, which includes the Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Justice, and Oregon Department of Revenue. Investigators confirmed that both Castro-Fletes and Almaraz had purchased and sold cigarettes that were manufactured for sale outside of the United States, and which could not be legally be sold in Oregon. As the Oregon state tax owed on these cigarettes had not been paid, the retailers were also in violation of that portion of state law.
Casto-Fletes and Almaraz were ordered to pay compensatory fines to the Oregon Department of Revenue. In addition, both Castro-Fletes and Almaraz were also ordered to perform community service and serve 18 months probation.
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