Alhambra man among six suspected in baby formula scheme

LOS ANGELES — An Alhambra man was among the six people arrested Thursday for allegedly buying stolen baby formula to resell at higher prices.
Ashraf Sulaiman, 38, of Alhambra, Saad Yohanan, 55, of San Diego, Yusuf Ghazi Abu Dawas, 33, of Escondido, Anas Abudawwas, 28, of Escondido, Eyad Ibrahim Abu Dawas, 41, of Encinitas and Khair Zaben, 48, of Fontana were arrested without incident.
Ten federal search warrants were also served in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, and San Bernardino counties. Investigators seized more than $750,000 from bank accounts plus cases of baby formula worth more than $500,000.
Yohanan, Sulaiman, Yusuf Dawas, Anas Abudawwas and Eyad Abu Dawas were charged with conspiring to transport and sell stolen goods. Other charges include transportation of stolen goods and possession, sale and receipt of stolen goods.
Zaben wasn’t accused of conspiracy. He was charged with transporting or aiding with the transporting of about 160 cases of stolen baby formula from Nevada to California on Feb. 21, 2012. He was also charged with the receipt, possession and sale of 160 cases of stolen formula on or after April 21, 2012.
The indictment alleged five of the suspects bought stolen infant formula from someone they thought was a supplier of stolen goods. But the supplier was actually an undercover federal agent who arranged for the sale of thousands of cases of infant formula and other items.
The suspects believed the supplier had access to the stolen merchandise based on ties to a freight forwarding company that makes deliveries across the United States, according to the indictment.
Authorities said throughout the case, investigators found no counterfeit products or evidence of tampering that posed a risk to public safety during the purchase, transfer or sale of the products.
The investigation is being conducted by the Los Angeles and San Diego divisions of the FBI; the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General; the IRS – Criminal Investigations; Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
– Ruby Gonzales
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