Clark County store owner caught selling cigarettes without license

A Clark County store owner pleaded guilty Friday morning to a criminal charge of trafficking cigarettes, at least the fourth time in the past month authorities have allegedly found illegal activity at local stores.

Jay Crawford, owner of the South Vienna Market and Dairy, was accused of selling cigarettes at his store without the proper license. He was charged in Clark County Municipal Court with a misdemeanor.

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“While conducting the inspections, I did not observe a cigarette license so I asked the manger if she knew where it would be and she looked around and then telephoned the owner, Jay Crawford,” Ohio Department of Taxation investigator Jamison Underwood wrote in a court affidavit. “The manager stated that J. Crawford advised her that he did not have a cigarette license and he thought that was included with the vendors license.”

The agent said he checked with the Clark County Auditor’s Office and found that the store never had a license. The auditor’s office looked further into the matter, according to court records, and found that the business had never had a license since it was founded in 2011.

“Agent Brian Sizemore and I met with the business owner at the business location,” Underwood says in the report. “Agent Sizemore explained and educated the owner.”

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The state taxation department didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Crawford pleaded guilty to the charge during his arraignment Friday morning. He was sentenced to pay a $50 fine and other court fees. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Earlier this month Ashley Schwartz, 24; Sara Hawes, 28; and Heather Wright, 29, were charged with allegedly selling alcohol to minors. They were cited during a crime blitz put on by several law enforcement agencies in Bethel Twp. on March 17.

They each have a pre-trial hearing set for later this month.


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