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Franchot announces contraband violations

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s comptroller says tobacco and alcohol contraband violations increased in the last fiscal year.

Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Wednesday that 196 people were charged with tobacco violations in fiscal 2012, which ended July 1. He also says 325,851 packs of cigarettes valued at nearly $2 million were confiscated.

The comptroller says both numbers represent a significant increase from the prior two fiscal years, when 72,105 and 184,498 packs were seized, respectively.

Franchot also noted an increase in the amount of confiscated alcohol.

In the last year, the comptroller says 426 gallons of distilled liquor were confiscated, along with 785 gallons of wine and 7,737 containers of beer.

That represents a total retail value of more than $92,000, compared to a little over $50,000 for the prior fiscal year.