Police: North African native used Brandermill store as front in $1M cigarette smuggling scheme

A native of Mauritania in northwest Africa has been charged in a major cigarette smuggling operation in Chesterfield County in which police said he purchased more than $1 million in Virginia cigarettes over 18 months that were transported to New York and resold for substantial gain.

Ahmed Salem Leweisy, 31, who was living in a Midlothian apartment during the time of the scheme, opened a tobacco store in the Market Place shopping center in Brandermill as a front for his operation, police said.

Leweisy used the business license he obtained for Chinguitty Tobacco Shop at 4910 Millridge Parkway to make tax-free purchases of thousands of cartons of cigarettes from big box stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco, Chesterfield police Lt. James Profita said.