A large string of 7-Eleven raids in New York and Virginia stemmed from a larger probe by feds into immigration, human smuggling, and identity theft, several federal agencies working in concert confirmed today.
The 7-Eleven raids encompassed outlets in both New York and Virginia, with several Long Island stores part of the massive joint agency effort.
In what the New York Times termed one of the “largest criminal immigrant employment investigations ever conducted by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments,” Brooklyn US attorney Loretta Lynch explains that the massive scheme busted utilized stolen social security numbers and even preyed upon the immigrants working illegally in the ring.
“From their 7-Eleven stores the defendants dispensed wire fraud and identity theft, along with Slurpees and hot dogs… In bedroom communities across Long Island and Virginia, the defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and grave to steal the identify of children and even the dead.”
Arrested in the 7-Eleven raids initially were nine defendants, identified in press reports:
57-year-old Farrukh Baig, Head of Harbor, New York
49-year-old Bushra Baig of Head of Harbor, New York
51-year-old Malik Yousaf of South Setauket, New York
51-year-old Zahid Baig of Chesapeake, Virginia
62-year-old Shannawaz Baig of Virginia Beach, Virginia
34-year-old Tariq Rana of Chesapeake, Virginia
49-year-old Ramon Nanas of Great River, New York
49-year-old Azhar Zia of Great River, New York
48-year-old Ummar Uppal of Islap Terrace, New York
Of the allegations of human smuggling at the center of the 7-Eleven raids, Lynch said that the men arrested are accused of “ruthlessly [exploiting] their immigrant employees” and “creating a modern-day plantation system.”
After the 7-Eleven raids, one neighbor not identified said of one of the homes busted that the residence was “packed in there,” and they’d observed that there had “been a constant flow of new people coming in.”