3 arrested in cigarette smuggling bust

From: WPRI.com

Investigation stops illegal cigarette sales

By Evan Viola

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three brothers are arrested after a three-week long investigation last month to stop the sale of illegally imported cigarettes from local convenience stores.

Wissam Khalil, 39, of Central Falls has been arrested for selling fraudulent and forged stamped cigarettes illegally from Doyle Food Mart in Providence. Najd C. Khalil, 25, and Bassam Khalil, 47, of Cumberland were also arrested on similar charges.

Officials say Wissam Khalil sold cigarettes that contained altered tax stamps from the State of Virginia directly to undercover members of the state police.

The RI Division of Taxation was notified by officials that a local man had purchased over 850 cartons of cigarettes – costing more than $35,000 from a Sam’s Club in Virginia.

Due to the suspiciously large purchase, staff members of the Sam’s Club took note of the man’s vehicle and notified police.

Investigators say Wissam Khalil was one of the purchasers.

The suspect’s vehicle was later identified on Route 95 in Richmond and stopped by authorities. The van’s operator was identified as Najd Khalil and the passenger, Wissam Khalil.

Police seized over $80,000 in cigarettes from hidden compartments in the vehicle. A further search of the Doyle Food Mart netted the seizure of 40 more packs of illegal cigarettes.

The only employee at the food mart at the time of search was the brother of Wissam Khalil, Bassam Khalil. He was arrested as well.

All three individuals were held at State Police Headquarters pending their arraignment.


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