Fairfax cig smuggler hired a hit man!
Date: March 10, 2010 12:49PM
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Fairfax man at the center of a massive cigarette-smuggling ring pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to hire a hitman to murder someone he thought had stolen from him.
The plea in U.S. District Court from Xing Xiao, 32, is the 14th conviction obtained by federal and local authorities in breaking up a Stafford County smuggling ring. The group bought 77 million cigarettes from undercover agents in Virginia and took them to New York, where they fetch a better price.
In the last few years, federal agents in Virginia have sold more than 250 million cigarettes in sting operations designed to combat increased smuggling.
In Tuesday's plea, Xiao admitted that he tried to hire an undercover agent posing as a hitman to murder a man whom he believed had stolen 15,000 cartons of cigarettes from him.
Xiao's attorney, Greg English, said his client has no prior criminal record.
"He made a mistake getting involved in this. He's very sorry for his actions," English said.