North Carolina Cigarette Smuggling Case
11 Dearborn, Michigan-based co-defendants were charged with racketeering related to a Charlotte, North Carolina cigarette smuggling scheme which prosecutors said began in May 1996 and continued until the defendants' indictment in 2003. Proceeds from the effort were forwarded to Hizballah. The defendants purchased cigarettes tax-free from the Cattaraugus Indian Reserve in Irving, NY. The New York-based head of the scheme was a Seneca tribe member named Carole Gordon, who ran the operation out of her home in Irving, NY. One defendant in the case, Mohamad Akhdar, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and was sentenced to 70 months in prison in January 2004. Another defendant, Hassan Makki pleaded guilty to racketeering and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization in September 2003.