Former Prince George’s County Police Officer Sentenced To over Five Years in Untaxed Cigarette Conspiracy
Conspirators Paid an Undercover Agent $1,770,230 for More Than 17 Million Contraband Cigarettes
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced former Prince George’s County Police officer Chong Chin Kim, age 44, of Odenton, Maryland, today to five years and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit extortion in connection with a scheme involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes; and for possessing a gun to further a crime of violence. Judge Messitte also entered an order that Kim forfeit $2,661,240.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy P. Groh of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“Criminal conspiracies are built on lies and deceit, criminals cannot trust criminals,” said Rick A. Raven, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Washington DC Field Office. “Today’s sentencing is another example that crime really does not pay. IRS Criminal Investigation welcomes opportunities to assist the Department of Justice and their law enforcement partners with dismantling criminal conspiracies profiting from contraband.”
According to his plea agreement, Kim had been a Prince George’s Police officer for 16 years. Between July 2009 and January 2010, Kim conspired with Chun “Eddy” Chen, who owned a carry-out store in Maryland; Amir Miljkovic, who owned a business called Prestige Auto Glass in College Park, Maryland; former Prince George’s County police officer Richard Delabrer; and others to transport and distribute untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere. The conspirators paid Kim and Delabrer to protect the safe transport and distribution of the untaxed cigarettes in Maryland and Virginia.
By July 2009, Delabrer and Miljkovic began purchasing contraband cigarettes from an undercover agent in Virginia, then selling them to Kim and Chen. Miljkovic and Delabrer traveled to Virginia to pick up a rented truck loaded by the undercover agent with the cigarettes, and drove the loads to a storage unit in Maryland obtained by Kim. On at least one occasion, Kim helped unload the cigarettes at his storage facility dressed in his official police uniform, armed with his service weapon and driving a marked police vehicle.
The conspirators bought contraband cigarettes at least 33 times from the undercover agent. Kim was involved in all but one of the transactions. Altogether, Kim and his co-conspirators paid the undercover agent $1,770,230 for more than 17 million contraband cigarettes, resulting in a tax loss attributable to Kim of $2,661,240.
Amir Miljkovic, age 40, and “Eddy” Chen, age 36, both of Bowie, Maryland; Amrik Singh Melhi, age 53, of Clarksville, Maryland; and Jose Moreno, age 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty to their participation in the extortion conspiracy. Miljkovic was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution and forfeit $230,580, including $183,799 which was seized from his home at his arrest. Chen was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution and forfeit $213,000, including $117,800 which was seized from his home at his arrest. Amrik Melhi was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $975,327.32. Moreno was sentenced to 18 months probation.
In a related case, former Prince George’s County police officer Sinisa Simic, age 27, and Mirza Kunjundzic, age 32, both of Woodbridge, Virginia, were charged with conspiring to commit extortion in a scheme involving the transportation and distribution of untaxed cigarettes, distribution of cocaine and additional firearms charges. Simic pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Kunjundzic is scheduled for trial on November 13, 2012.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and IRS for their work in these investigations. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Crowell IV, A. David Copperthite and Sujit Raman, who prosecuted the cases.
Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Groh and Mr. Raven expressed their appreciation to Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw for the assistance that he and his department provided.