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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Department of Justice

United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee


KNOXVILLE MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC CONTRABAND CIGARETTE CHARGES

KNOXVILLE, Tenn– Iqbal Hussain Bhimani, 55, and Abdul Karim Bhimani, 40, of Knoxville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court, Knoxville, Tennessee, to conspiracy to transport, possess and distribute contraband cigarettes. The Bhimanis are the operators of Wholesale Outlet in Knoxville. Each of them faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release in addition to the forfeiture of illicit proceeds.

The guilty pleas by the Bhimanis today were the result of a long-term undercover investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force of cigarette smuggling by convenience store owners in East Tennessee and elsewhere.

Sentencing has been set for September 30, 2010, in United States District Court, Knoxville, Tennessee, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Theodore and Will Mackie represented the United States.

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