More Charges Against Russell Co. Men in Contraband Tobacco Scheme

By Associated Press | 

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Two Kentucky men and a tobacco company have been indicted for their alleged involvement in the trafficking of contraband cigarettes.

David Brian Cooper and George Bertram, both of Jamestown, Ky., and Tantus Tobacco Co of Russell Springs, Ky., pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss. Trial is scheduled for July 8.

The two men and the company are accused of wire fraud and conspiring to sell cigarettes through Mississippi to avoid paying federal and state taxes. Cooper and Tantus Tobacco Co. are also accused of money laundering.

Attorneys for the Cooper and the company filed a motion Wednesday asking that the case be moved to federal court in Kentucky.

The scheme is alleged to have occurred between October 2007 and Jan. 21, 2009 in Mississippi.

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