West OC Raids Come After Federal Indictment; Basil, Samer Ramadan Held On Fugitive From Justice Warrants

West OC Raids Come After Federal Indictment; Basil, Samer Ramadan Held On Fugitive From Justice Warrants
Officials are pictured on the scene investigating homes in the Oyster Harbor neighborhood. Photo by Steve Green

WEST OCEAN CITY — The investigation involving the execution of a search and seizure warrant at residences in West Ocean City early Thursday morning is still active, but a few more details have trickled out Thursday.

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Basil and Samer Ramadan

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson on Thursday afternoon confirmed federal ICE and Homeland Security (HSI) officials, assisted by other federal and local law enforcement partners on Thursday morning, executed a search and seizure warrant in the Ocean City area as a result of a federal indictment being issued. The residences at which the search and seizure warrant was served is located in the Oyster Harbor community in West Ocean City.

A similar raid was conducted at the same residences in 2013 and resulted in the indictment and eventual conviction of two local men — Basel Ramadan and Samer Ramadan — in a vast cigarette smuggling and money laundering operation. In 2015, Basel Ramadan, who was deemed the ringleader of the operation, was found guilty on all 198 counts against him including enterprise corruption, money laundering and numerous tax crimes.

west o bottle shop

Ramadan was accused of running a multi-state, multi-million-dollar cigarette smuggling scheme that originated at a wholesaler in Virginia, passed through the defendant’s businesses and residences in Ocean City, West Ocean City and Delaware and ultimately flooded over a million cartons of untaxed cigarettes into New York City and upstate New York.

In New York Supreme Court in October 2015, Ramadan was sentenced to four to 12 years and was ordered to forfeit $1.2 million in assets related to the crimes for which he was found guilty.

What is known on Thursday is Basel Ramadan is in custody in Worcester County and is being held on a fugitive from justice warrant from New York. Basel Ramadan is being held without bond pending a bail review hearing set for early Friday morning in District Court in Snow Hill. Additionally, Samer Ramadan is also being held on a fugitive from justice warrant from New York.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.