A Maryland man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to possess and distribute over $6.6 million in contraband cigarettes, according to Justice Department officials.
Elmar Rakhamimov, 43, of Owings Mills, Maryland, said he was the leader and organizer of the contraband cigarettes scheme in his guilty plea. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz also entered an order requiring Rakhamimov to pay a restitution of $400 thousand on May 20.
Rakhamimov also plead guilty to trafficking and distributing Oxycodone and helping fence stolen jewelry.
According to the Justice Department, Rakhamimov and his co-conspirators purchased contraband cigarettes (cigarettes on which applicable state taxes have not been paid) on 18 occasions between December 2011-November 2013 from an undercover FBI agent operating in the Baltimore County area.
The conspirators paid $30 for each carton of contraband cigarettes, and sold them to buyers in New York for an $11-$15 profit.
Conspirators evaded over $2.5 million in taxes over the course of the conspiracy.
Rakhamimov also distributed Oxycodone, prescription drugs, counterfeit prescription drugs and other drugs as partial payment for contraband cigarettes and in exchange for cash. He received over $350 thousand in cash in 15 drug transactions. Additionally, in October 2013, Rakhamimov sold 340 pills of Oxycodone and 1,000 pills of counterfeit Cialis to an individual who paid him $38,980 in cash.
The government presented evidence that Rakhamimov was involved in fencing a violent robbery that was orchestrated by his nephew, Sanislav “Steven” Yelizarov, 26, of Pikesville, Md.
After kidnapping a store employee, whose movements they had been monitoring, Yelizarov and his co-conspirators brandished firearms and forced the victim to provide the alarm codes for the jewelry store. Yelizarov and a co-conspirator stole jewelry worth approximately $500,000 from the store.
Rakhamimov told a confidential informant that he had a million dollars of "hot" jewelry to sell, and set up a meeting at Rakhamimov's home. The informant met Rakhamimov and Yelizarov, who were wearing gloves and appeared to have all of the stolen jewelry. The informant bought a selection of the stolen jewelry for $29,000.
Several co-conspirators were also sentenced.
Zarakh Yelizarov, 53, of Pikesville, Md., was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $2.5 million. Ilgar Rakhamimov, 41, also of Pikesville, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Adam Azerman, 61, of Pikesville, was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay restitution of $912,780. Nikolay Zakharyan, 25, of Owings Mills, Md., was convicted by a federal jury after a five day trial and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $9.6 million.
Artur Zakharyan, 54, of Reisterstown, Md., was sentenced to one year of home detention, as part of four years' probation and ordered to pay restitution of $2.5 million and to forfeit $50 thousand believed to be proceeds of the offense, $11,947, and a five troy ounce gold bars and a gold coin seized during searches.
Elmar Rakhamimov's brother, Salim Yusufov, 43, of Reisterstown, Md., was sentenced to 12 months home confinement as part of four years' probation, for conspiracy to traffic over $6.6 million in contraband cigarettes, health care fraud, and receipt and delivery of misbranded drugs. Yusufov was also ordered to forfeit $200,000.
Stanislav "Steven" Yelizarov, 26, of Pikesville, Maryland, was sentenced on April 13, 2016, to 30 years in prison on charges arising from the robbery of a jewelry store, including a carjacking and kidnapping.