Oakland Man Charged in Large-Scale Tobacco Heist, Joint Police Operation Uncovers Over $137K in Stolen Goods

Oakland Man Charged in Large-Scale Tobacco Heist, Joint Police Operation Uncovers Over $137K in Stolen GoodsSource: California Highway Patrol - Golden Gate Division
Nina Singh-Hudson
Published on December 05, 2023

An Oakland man has been nabbed on suspicion of lifting tobacco goods valued at a hefty $137,000, authorities have reported. The California Highway Patrol's (CHP) Golden Gate Division described how an intricate network trading in stolen and unlicensed cigarettes was busted after a trail of thefts across northern California.

The crackdown came to a head on November 30 when CHP sleuths served search warrants in various Oakland locales, zooming in on Bashar Saleh Mohamed Nagi, 35, who they pinched for the contraband caper. Nagi is now cooling his heels on charges of theft and stashing hot goods after a joint sting that pulled in also the Oakland Police Department, and boy did they find a treasure trove—not just illicit tobacco but also pilfered merchandise topping $5,000 taken from Target, Safeway, and Old Navy. The bust spotlighted the critical partnership between cops and retail giants in throwing the book at organized retail crime, per California Highway Patrol - Golden Gate Division.

Working alongside key industry stoolies and friendly badges, CHP’s Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) put a lock on multiple premises, which coughed up the illegal stash and a bonus cache of suspected swiped items from a trio of household-name shops.

During the raids, which spanned a single home and a triad of storefronts, the CHP's dragnet didn't just snare Nagi; it also flagged businesses flouting the tax man by hustling hush-hush tobacco lacking proper California tax stamps in what was a notable tutelage of the state's Department of Tax and Fee Administration in the shadowy lanes of the contraband business, showing how tough these guys can get when the rule of law is snubbed and public safety hangs in the balance.