You are here

Four Men Indicted in Case Involving North Georgia Illegal Tobacco Trafficking Ring

PRESS ADVISORY

Four Men Indicted in Case Involving North Georgia Illegal Tobacco Trafficking Ring

November 14, 2011

Four men have been indicted for their alleged role in a North Georgia tobacco trafficking ring. A Hall County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Paresh Patel on November 7, 2011, and a Cobb County Grand Jury returned indictments against Nizarali Isani, Shabir Isani and Zohebali Isani on November 10, 2011.

The charges allege that the men endeavored and conspired to avoid the payment of state excise taxes on cigarettes by knowingly purchasing untaxed cigarettes which had counterfeit excise tax stamps. Patel allegedly acquired and maintained approximately 108,000 untaxed cigarettes and avoided paying approximately $1,998.00 in state cigarette excise taxes. Nizarali Isani, Shabir Isani and Zohebali Isani allegedly acquired and maintained approximately 1,548,000 untaxed cigarettes and avoided paying approximately $28,638.00 in state cigarette excise taxes.

Patel was charged in Hall County Superior Court with one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)) and four counts of Possession of Cigarettes with Counterfeit Stamps (O.C.G.A. § 48-11-28).

Nizarali Isani was charged with one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)) and three counts of Possession of Cigarettes with Counterfeit Stamps (O.C.G.A. § 48-11-28); Shabir Isani was charged with one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)) and 5 counts of Possession of Cigarettes with Counterfeit Stamps (O.C.G.A. § 48-11-28); and Zohebali Isani was charged with one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)) and one count of Possession of Cigarettes with Counterfeit Stamps (O.C.G.A. § 48-11-28). All three men were charged in Cobb County Superior Court.

The indictments are the result of a joint federal and state law enforcement effort between The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Atlanta Field Division, Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Georgia Department of Revenue, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, the Lawrenceville Police Department, and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department. After a three year investigation by the ATF, a large-scale enforcement operation yielded multiple arrests on and shortly after October 19, 2011.

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia.

Members of the public should keep in mind that indictments contain only allegations against the individual(s) against whom the indictment is sought. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it will be the government’s burden at trial to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations contained in the indictment.