Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
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    Release Number: 18-346

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • April 16, 2018
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piocommandcenter@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Operation Up In Smoke

    A multi-jurisdictional operation involving state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors shut down a major illegal cigarette operation that spanned over 20 counties last week.
    • Thursday
    • April 12, 2018
    • Time: 12:00 AM
    • Hillsborough County

    Targeted Stores involved in Operation “Up In Smoke”

    · 2K Express – 1411 East Hillsborough Avenue

    · B & R Market – 13002 North 15th Street

    · Best Value Grocery – 7015 North Himes Avenue

    · Billionair Smoke Shop – 1214 East Dr. King Boulevard

    · BP Gas Station – 1005 Lithia Pinecrest Road

    · Highland Pine Market – 3011 Melburne Boulevard

    · Lithia Smoke Shop (Puff & Stuff) – 1001 Lithia Pinecrest Road

    · Marathon Gas Station – 5701 Memorial Highway

    · Shell Gas Station – 7615 Gunn Highway

    · Shop Rite – 7027 North Himes Avenue

    · Smoke Casa & More – 2500 East Busch Boulevard

    · Snack Attack – 6824 North 50th Street

    · Southern Vibez – 7230 South US Highway 301

    · The 813 Star – 6904 North 56th Street

    · The Castle Smoke Shop – 8872 North Florida Avenue
     

    Arrested:


    Mohammad Sabla; DOB 06/30/95, Clerk
    2K Express – 1411 East Hillsborough Avenue

    Charges:
    · 2 Counts Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)
    · 2 Counts Dealing in Stolen Property


    Cephes West; DOB 06/25/64, Clerk
    B & R Market – 13002 North 15th Street

    Charges:
    ·
    Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Petit Theft First Degree


    Mohsen Musiad; DOB 04/05/92, Clerk
    Best Value Grocery – 7015 North Himes Avenue

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    Ibrahim Iwaiwi; DOB 09/02/93, Clerk

    Billionair Smoke Shop – 1214 East Dr. King Boulevard

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    BP Gas Station – 1005 Lithia Pinecrest Road
    Arrest Made:  N/A

    Items Seized:
    · 7 packs of cigarettes (previously sold by detectives)
    · Miscellaneous documents
    · Modem


    Hisham Abuaram; DOB 01/01/73, Clerk
    Highland Pine Grocery – 3011 Melbourne Boulevard

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)
    · 4 Counts of Violation of Probation


    Abhineet Sood; DOB 11/21/90, Clerk

    Lithia Smoke Shop – 1001 Lithia Pinecrest Road

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    Muntaser El Booz; DOB 01/24/74, Clerk

    Marathon Gas Station – 5701 Memorial Highway

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    Salama Mahmoud; DOB 04/27/82, Clerk

    Shell Gas Station – 7615 Gunn Highway

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)


    Husam Suleiman; DOB 09/01/96, Clerk

    Shop Rite – 7027 North Himes Avenue

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)


    Tariq Hammad; DOB 01/01/87, Owner/Manager

    Shop Rite – 7027 North Himes Avenue

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)
    · Money counter
    · 2 DVR’s


    Wasim Soboh; DOB 07/02/81, Owner/Manager/Clerk

    Smoke Casa & More – 2500 East Busch Boulevard

    Charges:
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Immigration Hold - ICE


    Hamzeh Ayoub; DOB 08/01/88, Clerk
    Snack Attack – 6824 North 50th Street

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)


     Jihad Nawabeet 05/14/88 (ACTIVE WARRANT), Clerk

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    Jamil Saleh; DOB 11/03/91, Clerk

    Southern Vibez – 7230 South US Highway 301

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)


    Eyas Sullaiman; DOB 07/14/88, Clerk

    The 813 Star – 6904 North 56th Street

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)



    Gregory Hernandez; DOB 06/26/65, Owner/Manager

    The Castle Smoke Shop – 8872 North Florida Avenue

    Charges:
    · Dealing in Stolen Property
    · Grand Theft Third Degree ($300 - $5,000)
    · Violation of Probation

    Operation Up In Smoke:

    Details:

    A multi-jurisdictional operation involving state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors shut down a major illegal cigarette operation that spanned over 20 counties last week. A joint effort between the Hillsborough County 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 Department of Beverages, Alcohol and Tobacco net over 17 arrests and 135 separate charges.

    On 04/12/18, Special Investigations Division Detectives, with the assistance of District Patrol units concluded a month long investigation (Operation Up in Smoke) into identified stores illegally purchasing stolen cigarettes within Hillsborough County. Detectives 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 $3,620.00 as payment for the cigarettes. The true retail value of the cartons sold was $10,880.00.

    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.” said Hillbsorough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

    Detectives served the court authorized search warrants and seized the following items: approx. $60,000.00 in US Currency, 4 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 North 50th Street .

    For Sheriff Chronister, this operation was just another example of the types of success that can be achieved when different agencies pool their resources for the common good.

    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; 6 counts of burglary with a mask; and 8 counts of robbery with a mask. Moore is facing 34 counts of grand theft; 7 counts of petit theft; 4 counts of burglary with a mask; and 4 counts of robbery with a mask.

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