Monday, March 12, 2007

Counterfeit Ring Broken Up

***Exclusive Report***
Criminal Enterprise Has Ties to Muslims of the Americas

Last Wednesday, the FBI arrested eight individuals and raided businesses as part of an investigation into a counterfeiting ring that was involved in the sale of falsely-branded clothing, pirated DVDs and other merchandise. Individuals from Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and New York were apprehended and businesses in Lynchburg, Richmond, and New York City were searched. Proceeds from the ring originating with a wholesaler in NYC had yielded at least $19 million over the course of the last two years.

According to my sources, at least some of the individuals who were arrested are believed to be members of the Muslims of the Americas, an Islamist organization operating throughout the US and founded by a Pakistani named Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani. The organization is made up of mostly religious followers, but serves as a front organization for the activities of a covert militant group known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The organization is partly funded via tribute from MOA members. Most members are generally required to send a percentage of their income, which may be gained through legal or, in a number of cases illegal means, to the sheikh in Pakistan. Research indicates the suspected MOA members in this ring may include:
> Ronald Roundtree of Lynchburg who, according to a source, is aka Muhammad Talib and has a history of drug abuse. News reports say he operated a booth outside the Z Market in Lynchburg selling some of the bootlegged items. Authorities searched not only the Z Market, but also Roundtree's home at 11th and Polk Streets in Lynchburg, although research indicates he has been a previous resident at the MOA compound in Red House, VA. An additional address history search links him to several other Virginia locales as well as Williamsport, PA and California, both areas where MOA has previously operated.

> Eric Harmon, owner of the Big EZ store in Richmond who according to a source is possibly aka Abdus-Sabur. His business was also involved in the sale of counterfeit goods and I have been told he may have been involved in illegal drug activity as well.

> Ismail Haqq, of Meherrin, VA. Little additional information was available, but a reverse address search of the location in Meherrin where MOA operates another residential settlement turned up a similar name - Isiah Haqq, which could possibly be a relative or an alias. [UPDATE: An additional search via whitepages.com, thanks to a contact of mine, did match Ismail Haqq to the MOA location in Meherrin. In fact, the address and phone number for Ismail Haqq is the same as Isiah Haqq. The relation is unconfirmed - it could be a relative, though MOA members are often known to use aliases].

> Ishoc Uthman Ibn-Abdus Salaam, of Pamplin, VA. I am told he is the son of an elder MOA member.

> Cherubin Pierre of Richmond, VA. I am unsure of any familial relationship at this point, but it is possible he is a relative of an MOA member of the same last name - Vincent Rafael Pierre. Vincent Pierre was part of a Fuqra cell in Colorado during the '90s and was involved in various white collar criminal schemes. He later joined the MOA community at Red House, VA. He and his wife were arrested for illegally purchasing guns in 2001.
Any further connections or possible associations of the others who were arrested are unclear at this time. Whatever the case, kudos to law enforcement for rounding up these guys. They have obviously put alot of work into this investigation.

I have posted a couple of videos here of the local television coverage surrounding the arrests.



I have also put together a document containing the government's press release, a collection of news coverage, and corporation records for two of the companies involved including pictures of the one in Richmond. Interestingly, in addition, I discovered a record of substantial political contributions made by the suspect that was arrested in NYC, all to the Republican Party, which is also in the document. Lastly, I have included the court schedule for the upcoming week for the US District Court - Eastern District of Virginia during which several of those arrested will be arrained.


It will be interesting to see how this case moves forward.

3 comments:

Baron Bodissey said...

CP,

Good job. I'll be posting on this.

d calderalo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
d calderalo said...

Excellent work, CP. I follow with great interest your stories on JF/MoA. Keep up the good work.