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Store owner sentenced for ‘contraband’ cigarettes purchase

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Updated: 3/25/2013 1:05 pm
LAS VEGAS – A man who owned and operated several convenience stores in Clark County has been sentenced to five years of probation for his guilty plea to purchasing contraband cigarettes, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada.

Amer “Sunny” Ramo, 55, who owned Sunny Market at 600 W. Lake Mead Blvd. in North Las Vegas and Sunny Market II and JB Liquors in Las Vegas, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. As part of the plea agreement, Ramo also agreed to abandon his gambling, liquor, and other business licenses in Clark County and not seek reinstatement of those licenses, and to sell all of his convenience store businesses in Clark County.

According to the plea agreement, on Feb. 28, 2012, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers received information that Ramo was purchasing items such as liquor and cigarettes from individuals who had stolen them from local retail establishments.

In May and June, a LVMPD detective made three undercover sales to Ramo at Sunny Market, including liquor, baby formula, and cigarettes which the detective told Ramo had been stolen. Then on July 11, Ramo purchased 12,000 cigarettes from the undercover detective for $300, and on July 25, Ramo purchased 36,000 cigarettes from the undercover detective for $750.

On both occasions, Ramo was told that the cigarettes, which lacked stamps evidencing the payment of taxes required under state law, were stolen. Immediately after the last sale, state and federal search warrants were executed at Ramo’s Sunny Market store, where law enforcement officials recovered some of the property, including the cigarettes that had been sold to Ramo by the undercover detective.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the LVMPD, Special Investigations Section, and the North Las Vegas Police Department, and was part of a federal and local law enforcement effort to combat organized retail theft. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Brown.

-- From news release
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