Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 28, 2014

Two charged in raid

Niagara Gazette — The co-owners of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (L.O.E.G.) store in Niagara Falls have been charged with trafficking in pirated DVDs and CDs and selling untaxed cigarettes.

Christopher Bevilacqua, 33, and Milton Williams, 30, both of 3667 Ferry Ave., were each charged with a felony count of first-degree failure to disclose origin of a recording, a misdemeanor count of attempt to evade or defeat New York State tobacco products tax and a violation count of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Bevilacqua and Williams, identified by police as brothers, were arraigned in Falls City Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

They were arrested Thursday night after a task force of Falls police detectives, narcotics investigators, State Police and state tax authorities, Border Patrol agents and an investigator from the American music industry swooped into their business in the 2900 block of Pine Avenue earlier in the day.

It wasn’t the first time law enforcement authorities had paid a visit to the sparsely stocked store. The business was the scene of a bold daylight shooting in mid-January and Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said the store had aroused police suspicions. 

“You know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire and so we went to work (investigating the business),” DalPorto said.

The results of that investigation led to the seizure of a treasure trove of bootleg DVDs and CDs and a bounty of illegal, untaxed tobacco products. Investigators estimated they found hundreds of counterfeit DVDs of popular movies and TV shows.

There were an equal number of copied CDs from musical artists, including Beyonce. Detectives also found dozens of cartons of brand name cigarettes without state tax stamps.

Investigators were also taking a close look at brand name clothing found in the store to see if it too was counterfeit.

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
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Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
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