HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man who admitted to food stamp fraud as part of an organized criminal enterprise three years ago has been transferred to federal custody to face possible supervision revocation after he was accused of committing those crimes while under federal supervision.
Basim Tallozi, 64, and Samir Tallozi, 67, admitted in a Cabell County courtroom in 2017 that together, and with employees of the former Save Way gas station in the 1300 block of Madison Avenue, customers would be given lists of items needed to stock the store in exchange for 50% of the items’ cash value. On at least one occasion, items were brought to the brothers’ home. On some occasions, customers were taken to different businesses to make the purchases.
The business had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as to how the items were purchased. Only a receipt was required for the transaction to prove the items were not stolen.
Basim Tallozi admitted to giving drugs, including meth and marijuana, to beneficiaries four times in place of the 50% cash value.
Their scheme came to a crashing halt in 2016 after Cabell County agencies raided their homes and business. An uprising in theft, drug trafficking and prostitution at and near the West Huntington neighborhood business was a direct result of the illegal trading and food stamp fraud, Cabell County assistant prosecutor Joe Fincham previously said.
Both brothers said during their plea hearings that they did not understand what they were doing was against the law at the time of their arrest.
Basim Tallozi’s attorney had requested at the time of his Cabell County sentencing that he be allowed to voluntarily give up his citizenship and be deported back to his native country as punishment instead of costly imprisonment, but Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell declined.
During the time of his scheme, Basim Tallozi had been serving supervised release for federal crimes involving the Smokin’ Aces drugs and contraband cigarettes sting investigation. He also had admitted to selling, in three separate incidents, about 165 oxycodone tablets to undercover agents in that case.
As a result of his state charges, federal agents issued a warrant for his arrest and made a request to revoke his supervision.
After being released from a state prison last week, Basim Tallozi was transferred to federal custody to answer a petition to revoke his federal supervised release surrounding his Cabell County charges.
Tallozi was arraigned on the warrant March 27 and a revocation hearing has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. May 19 in Huntington. He will remain in federal custody until that time.
Samir Tallozi has also been released from state prison.