U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
June 28, 2012
Syrian National Sentenced for Importing and Selling Contraband Cigarettes in Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mohamad Mohamad, 35, of Cambridge, Mass., a Syrian national, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence today to 5 years probation, the first 12 months to be served in community confinement at the Coolidge House in Boston, for importing and selling millions of contraband cigarettes in Rhode Island. The cigarettes lacked required Rhode Island state tax stamps, and deprived Rhode Island of an estimated $506,000 in cigarette tax revenue.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi also ordered Mohamad to pay a fine of $5,000. Mohamed pleaded guilty on February 9, 2012, to one count of knowingly, transporting, receiving, possessing, selling, and distributing in excess of 10,000 contraband cigarettes.
Mohamad’s sentence was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Boston Field Office.
At the time of his guilty plea, Mohamad admitted that he traveled regularly to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to purchase large quantities of cigarettes from retailers and wholesalers for resale to convenience stores and independent salespersons in Rhode Island. None of the packages of cigarettes resold by Mohamad contained Rhode Island tax stamps. Mohamad is not licensed to sell cigarettes in Rhode Island.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Sandra R. Hebert. The remaining defendants in this matter are awaiting trial in Rhode Island state court.
U.S. Attorney credited ICE-HSI, ATF and Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) agents were assisted in the investigation by various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia; and by the Internal Revenue Service, Warwick Police, Massachusetts State Police and Cambridge, Mass., Police.
The R.I. State Police HIDTA is a federally funded task force comprised of members of law enforcement from the R.I. State Police, ATF, DEA, HSI, R.I. National Guard, and the Johnston, Pawtucket, Providence, and Smithfield Police Departments.