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18 Charged in Stolen Cigarette Sting, Hillsborough Sheriff Says

Cigarette Sting | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Cash, guns, marijuana and stolen cigarettes were seized, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY –  A multi-jurisdictional operation involving state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors shut down a major stolen cigarette operation that spanned 15 counties, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The joint effort, called “Operation Up in Smoke,” netted 18 arrest warrants and 135 separate charges. It involved officers from the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Office of the Florida Attorney General, the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

The month-long investigation involved identified stores illegally purchasing stolen cigarettes within Hillsborough County. At the conclusion of the investigation Thursday (April 12), deputies were able to obtain probable cause for search warrants at 15 stores and 18 arrest warrants. During the investigation, undercover detectives sold 170 cartons of cigarettes to the various stores and
received $3,620 as payment for the cigarettes. The true retail value of the cartons sold was $10,880.

“Shutting down this illegal cigarette ring levels the playing field for businesses who do the right thing by following the law and complying with our regulations. This is a win for everyone,” Hillsborough County Sheriff  Chad Chronister said.

Detectives served the court authorized search warrants and seized the following items: about $60,000 in U.S. currency, four firearms, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, 142 stolen packs of cigarettes (sold by detectives), and miscellaneous paraphernalia. The marijuana was found in various forms,including plant material, oils, creams, edibles, and capsules. A total of 15 individuals were arrested as a result of this operation. An outstanding warrant remains for Jihad Nawabeet who is a clerk at Snack Attack Store, 6824 N 50th St.

Chronister said the operation was another example of the type of success that can be achieved when different agencies pool their resources for the common good.

Chad Chronister | Hillsborough Sheriff | Politics

Chad Chronister

“This is a textbook example of how inter-agency cooperation makes not only Hillsborough County safer, but the entire State. Crime doesn’t stop at our county line even if our jurisdiction may,” he said. “Today it was cigarettes, but tomorrow it could be anything and joint operations like this show we can make it work successfully and ultimately our communities benefit throughout the region.”

FDLE conducted an investigation that determined Christopher Booker and Quentin Moore targeted chain convenience stores and retail outlets to steal large volumes of cigarettes. After spending several hours investigating more than 120 different police reports, agents learned the retail theft and robbery spree included 51 incidents across 20 counties and 10 different judicial circuits.

As a result, both Booker and Moore are facing one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Additionally, Booker is facing 29 counts of grand theft; 7 counts of petit theft; six counts of burglary with a mask; and eight counts of robbery with a mask. Moore is facing 34 counts of grand theft; seven counts of petit theft; four counts of burglary with a mask; and four counts of robbery with a mask.

“These suspects are facing serious charges, including racketeering, that could put them away for a long time,” said Mark Brutnell, FDLE’s special agent in Charge for the Tampa region. “Through great partnerships and solid investigations, we put a damper on ‘Operation Up in Smoke’ and residents in our region are safer.”

The names of those arrested and still wanted and the charges:

Mohammad Sabla; 22: Two counts each Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000),  Dealing in Stolen Property.

Cephes West; 53: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Petit Theft First Degree

Mohsen Musiad; 26: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Ibrahim Iwaiwi; 25:One count each Dealing in Stolen Property,Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Hisham Abuaram; 45: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000); four counts Violation of Probation

Abhineet Sood; 27: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Muntaser El Booz; 44: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Salama Mahmoud; 35: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Husam Suleiman; 21: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Tariq Hammad; 31: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Wasim Soboh; 36: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000), immigration hold for ICE

Hamzeh Ayoub; 29: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Jihad Nawabeet 29: (warrant issued): One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Jamil Saleh; 26: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Eyas Sullaiman; 29: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000)

Gregory Hernandez; 52: One count each Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 – $5,000), Violation of Probation

Christopher Booker; 29: One count Conspiracy to commit Racketeering; 29 counts Grand Theft, seven counts Petit Theft, six counts burglary with a mask, eight counts robbery with a mask

Quentin Moore; 24: One count Conspiracy to commit Racketeering, 34 counts Grand Theft, seven counts Petit Theft, four counts Burglary with Mask, four counts Robbery with Mask

Cephes West | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Cephes West

Eyas Sullaiman | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Eyas Sullaiman

Husam Suleiman | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Husam Suleiman

Abhineet Sood | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Abhineet Sood

Wasim Soboh | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Wasim Soboh

Jamil Saleh | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Jamil Saleh

Mohammad Sabla | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Mohammad Sabla

Jihad Nawabeet | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Jihad Nawabeet

Mohsen Musiad | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Mohsen Musiad

Quentin Moore | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Quentin Moore

Salama Mahmoud | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Salama Mahmoud

Ibrahim Iwaiwi | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Ibrahim Iwaiwi

Gregory Hernandez | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Gregory Hernandez

Tariq Hammad | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Tariq Hammad

Muntaser El Booz | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Muntaser El Booz

Christopher Booker | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Christopher Booker

Hamzeh Ayoub | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Hamzeh Ayoub

Hisham Abuaram | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Hisham Abuaram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a video showing some of the locations and arrests, go to youtube.com.

For  video of Chad Chronister’s press conference, go to youtube.com.

Photo is a screen shot taken from Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office video.

Hillsborough Sheriff | Florida Department of Law Enforcement | Crime | Cigarette Sting | Chad Chronister | Arrests | Tampabay News

#HillsboroughSheriff #FloridaDepartmentofLawEnforcement #Crime #CigaretteSting #ChadChronister #Arrests #TampabayNews

 

 

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18 Charged in Stolen Cigarette Sting, Hillsborough Sheriff Says
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18 Charged in Stolen Cigarette Sting, Hillsborough Sheriff Says
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Cash, guns, marijuana and stolen cigarettes were seized, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
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TB Reporter
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