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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Minneapolis Man Charged With Providing Stolen Cell Phones To Organized Crime Ring

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced a criminal complaint charging ABBAS ATEIA AL HUSSAINAWEE, 40, for acting as a runner for defendants separately charged with conspiring to engage in the interstate transportation of stolen goods, namely cell phones and other electronic devices. AL HUSSAINAWEE was charged on December 19, 2014, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., with conspiracy to engage in interstate transportation of stolen goods. In a separate complaint filed today, AL HUSSAINAWEE was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

“This defendant is charged with being one of the many runners employed by the Mustafa Organization,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “In August, my office charged 20 defendants with conspiracy to steal and sell mobile devices on the underground market. Our investigation continues to uncover others who fueled the theft of cell phones in Minnesota and elsewhere.”

According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, from at least 2006 through 2014, the separately charged Mustafa Organization and their criminal associates illegally obtained cellular telephones and other mobile devices for the purpose of trafficking them throughout the United States and internationally. The Mustafas paid runners who stole mobile devices or obtained them fraudulently by other means. AL HUSSAINAWEE is an alleged runner for the Mustafa Organization.

According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, AL HUSSAINAWEE regularly traveled to other states to steal phones, including to Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri. To avoid detection while burglarizing cell phone stores, AL HUSSAINAWEE broke into businesses adjacent to cell phone stores, and then gained entry to the cell phone store by breaking through the wall. He specifically targeted strip malls with vacant adjacent store space.

According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, on November 27, 2012, AL HUSSAINAWEE burglarized a Best Buy in Maplewood, Minn. The defendant broke into an adjacent business and broke through the wall to gain entry to the Best Buy. He stole 48 cellular phones, 20 iPads and five tablet computers. On December 12, 2014, AL HUSSAINAWEE burglarized a Verizon Store in Buffalo, Minn. He gained entry to the store by prying open the back door of a vacant business and then breaking through the sheetrock to gain access to the adjacent Verizon Store. The defendant stole $33,015 in cell phones.

According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, on July 14, 2014, the defendant stole 44 cell phones and iPads from a Verizon store in Waconia, Minn. The total value of the stolen merchandise was $22,279.97. On March 9, 2014, the defendant broke through the sheetrock of a Verizon store in Menomonie, Wis., and stole $32,000 worth of cell phones and iPads. AL HUSSAINAWEE was responsible for burglary or attempted burglary in at least 22 cell phone stores. The Mustafas paid AL HUSSAINAWEE in cash for the stolen merchandise.

According to a separate criminal complaint filed today, when agents executed a search warrant at AL HUSSAINAWEE’S home in Minneapolis, they discovered a backpack containing approximately 268 grams of methamphetamine.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the St. Paul Police Department, United States Secret Service, and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, under the auspices of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Schleicher and John Marti are prosecuting this case.

Defendant Information:

Minneapolis, Minn.

• Conspiracy to engage in interstate transportation of stolen property, 1 count
• Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 1 count

The charges contained in the criminal complaints are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.



Updated April 30, 2015