Six Men, Including Three Local Law Enforcement Officers, Charged with Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that JADALLAH SAED, age 30; ANWAR ABDELMAJID-AHMAD, a/k/a Tony, age 29, both of Gretna; ATALLA ATALLA, a/k/a Tommy, age 38, of Wilmington, North Carolina; JUSTIN BROWN, age 29; JOSHUA CARTHON, age 32, and GARRETT PARTMAN, age 31, all of New Orleans, were arrested yesterday in connection with the unsealing of an Indictment charging them with conspiring to traffic in contraband cigarettes and evading the federal excise tax imposed on tobacco; trafficking in contraband cigarettes, and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises, in Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 1952(a)(3), respectively.
According to previously filed court documents, defendants would illegally receive, possess, and purchase contraband cigarettes and cigars in order to evade applicable taxes and receive higher profits for the retail sale of the tobacco products. New Orleans Police Officers JUSTIN BROWN and JOSHUA CARTHON and Orleans Parish Sheriff’s deputy GARRETT PARTMAN, were utilized to protect and transport the shipment of contraband cigarettes across state lines. The defendants would then distribute and sell the contraband cigarettes in North Carolina and other states where the cigarette taxes are higher than Louisiana, resulting in a substantial total tax loss to both federal and state governments.
The maximum penalties are as follows: as to Count 1, Conspiracy To Traffic In Contraband Cigarettes and Evade the Federal Excise Tax Imposed on Tobacco (18 U.S.C. § 371), 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release. As to Counts 2, 4, 6, and 7, Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes (18 U.S.C. § 2342(a)), 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release for each count. As to Counts 3 and 5, Interstate Transportation in Aid of Racketeering Enterprises (18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3)), 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release for each count.
U.S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation New Orleans Division, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the New Orleans Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Tracey N. Knight and Irene Gonzalez are in charge of the prosecution.