Final Defendant In Scheme To Distribute Untaxed Cigarettes Exiled To 15 Years In Prison On Gun And Drug Charges
Conspired with Former Prince George’s County Police Officer to Distribute Drugs
and Untaxed Cigarettes
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Mirza Kunjundzic, age 33, of Woodbridge, Virginia, to 15 year in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after Kunjundzic pleaded guilty late yesterday to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Kunjundzic, who was scheduled to go to trial on March 4, 2014, was the last of nine defendants to plead guilty to charges related to a scheme involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes.
The guilty plea and sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to Kunjundzic’s plea agreement, between July 2009 to January 2010, Kunjundzic and former Prince George’s County Police officer Sinisa Simic transported and distributed untaxed cigarettes in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere. As part of the conspiracy, Simic used his official authority as a Prince George’s County police officer to ensure the safe transport and distribution of the untaxed cigarettes in exchange for cash payments from a source and an undercover agent working with the FBI . During November 2009, law enforcement intercepted conversations on Simic’s cellular phone which indicated that Simic and Kunjundzic both wanted Kunjundzic to be armed while they were protecting the contraband cigarettes during transportation and distribution. Simic subsequently obtained a 50 caliber handgun for Kunjundzic, which was recovered at Simic’s residence at the time of his arrest, along with a 9mm handgun. On December 2, 2009, Simic and Kunjundzic transported 80 cases of contraband cigarettes to New Jersey in exchange for $3,400 paid by the undercover agent.
Kunjundzic and Simic also distributed cocaine to the undercover agent and source. For example, on October 7, 2009, Kunjundzic and Simic delivered 114.5 grams of cocaine to the undercover agent, who paid them$6,520 for the cocaine and to transport and protect a delivery of contraband cigarettes. A portion of the cocaine was secreted in the shipment of contraband cigarettes. On October 22, 2009, Kunjundzic and Simic delivered 244.3 grams of crack cocaine to the undercover agent and on and November 12, 2009, they delivered 268.2 grams of crack cocaine, for which they were paid $13,800 and $4,000, respectively, for the crack cocaine and to transport contraband cigarettes. Simic was armed during each of the transactions.
Simic and Kunjundzic continued to deliver contraband and be paid for the protection of those deliveries until January 26, 2010. In total, they provided protection for eight shipments of contraband between September 9, 2009 and January 26, 2010. They were paid a total of $52,120, including the payments for the cost of the cocaine purchased by the undercover agent.
Former Prince George’s County Police officer Sinisa Simic, age 29, of Woodbridge, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation for their work in these investigations. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Crowell IV, and A. David Copperthite, who prosecuted the case.
Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Vogt and Mr. Kelly expressed their appreciation to Prince George's County Chief Mark A. Magaw for the assistance that he and his department provided.