Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts said on Friday that four men are being investigated in relation to alleged illicit marijuana, tobacco, and flavoured vape enterprise with a Woburn location.
According to Healey, the business involved shipping goods from Woburn to retailers in Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire.
Healey claimed that certain THC-infused items moved by this system had traces of fentanyl. Healey further noted that most black market tobacco products were flavoured and counterfeit, in contravention of the state of Massachusetts’ ban on such items.
The attorney general said that fake tobacco and marijuana products that are not regulated could hurt people who use them.
The charges are the result of a year-long investigation into a significant multi-level organisation based in Woburn that distributed untaxed, black-market tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products—the majority of which were counterfeit and flavoured, in violation of the state’s ban on flavoured tobacco and ENDS products—and illegally trafficked marijuana and THC-infused goods, some of which had traces of fentanyl. Products like fake tobacco and marijuana that aren’t regulated could be dangerous for users.
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The charges against Samuel Habib, 43, of Stratham, New Hampshire, include trafficking in marijuana, possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute, possession of THC with the intent to distribute (4 counts), possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute (2 counts), distribution of THC, and distribution of marijuana. He was arraigned on these charges on Wednesday in Middlesex Superior Court.
Bail was imposed at $25,000 cash by First Assistant Clerk Magistrate Daniel Flaherty with the requirement that Habib turn in his passport. In conjunction with this investigation, Habib was previously detained in June 2021 and charged with trafficking in marijuana as well as tax evasion for the sale of untaxed cigarettes and ENDS products. The next pretrial date for Habib’s case is set for September 30.
On July 28 in Essex Superior Court, Charles Fisher, 43, of Kingston, New Hampshire, and Fadi Laioun, 37, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were charged in relation to the investigation. At his arraignment, Laioun was charged with marijuana trafficking.
Fisher was charged with trafficking marijuana, carrying a loaded firearm, possessing a firearm while committing a felony, and having ammunition in his possession without a valid FID card. Fisher’s bond was set at $15,000 cash, and Laioun’s bail was set at $5,000 cash by Judge Thomas Drechsler. On September 27, Laioun and Fisher must return to Essex Superior Court.
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Jason Stock, 44, of Binghamton, New York, is charged with trafficking marijuana and having THC with the intent to sell. He will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on August 17.
On May 20, a Statewide Grand Jury indicted Habib, Laioun, Fisher, and Stock on the most recent allegations.
Several law enforcement agencies executed search warrants at numerous business premises in Massachusetts as well as locations in New York and New Hampshire prior to Habib’s arrest in 2021. During the raid, the police also found four cargo vans, one luxury SUV, about $540,000 in cash, 250 boxes of illegal vapes, 200 cases of THC-infused items, and about 750 pounds of marijuana.
This investigation is still ongoing. All defendants are innocent until and unless proven guilty in accordance with the law.