35 St. Louis-area convenience store owners indicted following fe - KMOV.com

35 St. Louis-area convenience store owners indicted following federal raids

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Officials outside Northway Market Tuesday (Credit: KMOV) Officials outside Northway Market Tuesday (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A federal grand jury has indicted 35 store owners on federal conspiracy charges for trafficking contraband cigarettes, distributing controlled substances and money laundering.

According to reports, the suspects conspired for more than 2 years to buy contraband cigarettes in St. Louis, a low tax market, while transporting and distributing them in Chicago, Illinois, and New Jersey, which are high tax markets.

Read:Federal agents raid several St. Louis-area convenience stores 

The store owners are accused of using several convenience stores that they operated to create the appearance of legal cigarette purchases.

Illegal profits form the contraband cigarette sales were laundered through accounts associated with the stores.

Synethetic drugs, K-2, was sold every day from a handful of the convenience stores. Authorities said the store owners manufactured synthetic drugs themselves by importing chemicals from China.

“The collaboration with our federal and local law enforcement partners is the key to breaking criminal enterprises in this area,” said Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons of HSI Chicago.

“Synthetic drugs that are sold as purportedly legal substitutes for cannabis and stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, are neither legal nor safe,” said James P. Shroba, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division. “These substances were never intended for human consumption and only serve to satisfy the avarice of the seller.”

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of five to 20 years in prison and the possibility of a $1 million dollar fine.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Revenue and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

The list of defendants include:

Mohammed Almuttan, aka Abu Ali, 35, St. Louis, MO

Rami Almuttan, aka Abu Louay, 33, St. Louis, MO

Hisham Mutan, aka Abu Mohamed, 41, St. Louis, MO

Saddam Mutan, aka Abu Ali, 24, St. Louis, MO

Mazin Abdelsalam, aka Abu Mohammad, 38, St. Louis, MO

Najeh Muhana, aka Abu Yazan, 41, Fairview, NJ

Fares Muhana, aka Abu Yamama, 40, Cliffside Park, NJ

Ayoub Qaiymah, aka Abu Faysal, 23, Richmond, VA

Naser Abid, 23, Chicago, IL

Yadgar Barzanji, aka Abu Siver, 47, St. Louis, MO

Wafaa Alwan, 50, St. Louis, MO

Ahmed Abuali, aka Bazilla, 31, North Bergen, NJ

Mohammed Kayed, aka Mohammed Fayez, 21, Clifton, NJ

Momen Abuali, 20, Little Ferry, NJ

Firat Sevindik, 42, Cliffside Park, NJ

Mohammed Mustafa, 30, North Bergen, NJ

Mohammad Karashqah, Abu Yazid, 47, North Bergen, NJ

Fayez Sheikha, 46, Mishawaka, IN

Jihad Shihadeh, Abu Malik, 58, Chicago Ridge, IL

Ismael Abadi, 57, Carol Stream, IL

Abed Hamed, Abed Fawzan, 39, Greenville, NC

Maher Hamed, Abu Alazara, 33, Swansea, IL

Abdel Adi, 25, Oak Lawn, IL

Muhanad Khatib, Abu Alamin, 36, Chicago, IL

Eyad Awad, 38, Chicago, IL

Dale Garbin, 60, Kankakee, IL

Hayder Al Fatli, 40, St. Louis, MO

Kutlay Guvener, 35, Chicago, IL

Saad Al Mallak, 30, Dittmer, MO

Hassan Abdelatif, 29, Collinsville, IL

Mahajir Naz, 32, St. Louis, MO

Talal Abuajaj, 23, St. Louis, MO

Basem Hamdan, aka Abu Ramiz, 57, St. Louis, MO

Zainal Saleh, 29, St. Louis, MO and

Ibrahim Awad, 39, St. Louis, MO

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