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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          August 15, 2011                   


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Basim Ali Talouzi, 45, of Charleston, West Virginia, was sentenced today to five years in prison by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers for conspiracy to transport, receive, possess, purchase and sell contraband cigarettes and for a controlled substance offense.  Talouzi pleaded guilty in April.  The defendant admitted that between July 2010 until January 2011, at or near Huntington and elsewhere, he took part in a conspiracy with other known associates to purchase and transport contraband cigarettes.  In total, the defendant arranged for the sale and distribution of approximately 3,422,400 contraband cigarettes, which represents 17,112 cartons of cigarettes.  The resulting excise tax loss to the State of West Virginia was $94,116. 

The defendant further admitted that on or about September 14, 2010 at or near Huntington, aided by a known individual, he sold approximately 30 80-milligram oxycodone tablets to an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in exchange for $2,250.  Also, between July 2010 and October 2010, the defendant distributed or aided and abetted the distribution of a total of 87 80-milligram oxycodone tablets and 50 30-milligram oxycodone tablets to an undercover ATF agent.  

The five-year prison sentence handed down today by the Court represents a combined 36-month sentence on the contraband cigarette conviction and a 24-month sentence for a supervised release violation.  The Court also ordered the defendant to pay a $5,000 fine. 

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hissam handled the prosecution. 

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