Gas station busted for illegal tobacco sales
A Bridgeport gas station was among those caught up in an illegal tobacco sting by the state Department of Revenue Services.
The multi-jurisdictional operation led by the Department of Revenue Services MSA Tobacco Enforcement Unit resulted in four arrests and the confiscation of large amounts of cash and illegal products, Commissioner of Revenue Services Kevin B. Sullivan announced Thursday, Jan. 14.
Following months of investigation, the DRS MSA Tobacco Enforcement Unit joined with the Hartford, Bridgeport, Newington and Wethersfield police, as well as the Office of Connecticut’s Chief State’s Attorney and federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to issue search and seizure warrants that resulted in four arrests: Shiraj A. Mhommed, 50; Sabia A. Raham, 37; Mohammed Shaheen, 51; and Ahmed Mustak, 33. Each faces numerous charges including possession of untaxed tobacco, conspiracy/possession of untaxed tobacco, first-degree larceny, and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny.
Three City Gas stations owned by Mhommed were involved: on Huntington Turnpike, Bridgeport; White Street; Hartford; and Albany Avenue, Hartford.
More than $120,000 in untaxed tobacco products and cash were recovered from the three locations, as well as a large amount of counterfeit goods and hallucinogenic products.
According to the arrest warrant, Mhommed and one of his employees allegedly travelled to Pennsylvania weekly with about $40,000 in cash to purchase untaxed tobacco products to supply these businesses.
This is the second major tobacco bust made by the Department of Revenue Services this month.
“This is yet another example of DRS and law enforcement agencies working together to combat the growing problem of tobacco product smuggling,” Sullivan said. “When I announced two years ago that our agency was going to get tougher with these criminals, I meant it.”
The MSA Tobacco Enforcement Unit is a criminal enforcement unit within DRS. Anyone with information regarding illegal trafficking of tobacco or cigarettes may call the DRS 24-hour tip line at 860-297-4887. Tips can be submitted by email to email@example.com.
For more information about Connecticut tax issues, visit the DRS web site at ct.gov/DRS or call 1-800-382-9463.