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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty To Moving Money And Marijuana Between Ohio, Arizona And Mexico

CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

COLUMBUS – Mohamed Keisar, 36, of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and to one count of unlawfully operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Keisar faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy A. Enstrom, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS), Robin Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, William Hayes, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Columbus Division of Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the guilty plea entered before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

According to court documents, a joint investigation determined that between January 2009 and December 2012, Keisar was involved in the transportation, sale, and distribution of marijuana in the Southern District of Ohio. Specifically, the investigation found that Keisar, a truck driver, transported marijuana from California and Arizona, to Columbus, Ohio via semi-tractor trailer. The marijuana, which would be co-mingled with legitimate loads, would then be off-loaded to Keisar’s co-conspirators.

Keisar knowingly operated an unlicensed money transmitting business by physically transporting the money that was derived from the sale of marijuana in Columbus, Ohio back to California and Arizona.

On November 27, 2012 investigators, while conducting surveillance, observed a subject provide Keisar with $939,220 in U.S. Currency that had been derived from the sale of marijuana in Columbus, Ohio. Keisar was to transport the U.S. currency in his semi-tractor trailer from Columbus, Ohio to San Diego, CA and to deliver the funds to the source of supply. IRS agents determined that Keisar has never registered and/or been licensed to operate a money transmitting business by the Department of Treasury.

As part of the plea agreement, Keisar agreed to forfeit $1,070,513.83 in U.S. currency either seized from Keisar’s vehicle or from a co-conspirator on several dates between February 2012 and November 2012

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation conducted by the agents and officers of IRS, ATF, HSI, and the Columbus Division of Police. Stewart also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney David DeVillers who is representing the United States.

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Updated July 23, 2015