The 21st Century Phenomenon



Mohamad Youssef Hammoud, born in 1974 in Lebanon, was re-sentenced, on 01/26/2012, to 30 years in prison on charges related to his activities of providing material support to the foreign terrorist organization, Hizbullah, from about 1995 to July 2000 in Charlotte, the hometown of Samir-Khan, following a multi-agency investigation involving special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Mohamad Hammoud, who has remained in federal custody since his arrest on J07/21/2000, came into the USA illegally in 1992 and lived here by virtue of three sham marriages to U.S. citizens until his arrest.

Mohamad Hammoud, along with two of his brothers and 22 others, were indicted in 2000 in U.S. District Court in the Western District of North Carolina on numerous criminal counts which included the charge of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Hizbullah.

From April to June 2002, Mohamad Hammoud and one of his brothers, Chawki Hammoud, were tried before a federal jury in Charlotte on those charges. At trial, both were convicted of providing material support to Hizbullah, and on numerous other criminal counts, including conspiracy, cigarette smuggling, money laundering, racketeering, and immigration fraud.
The guilty verdicts were delivered by the jury at the end of the five-week trial on 07/21/2002, after three days of deliberation.

On 02/28/2003 Trial Judge Graham C. Mullen sentenced Mohamad Hammoud to 155 years in prison. He later entered a notice of appeal, and through a three-year appeal process which ultimately carried the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld all of his convictions but vacated Mullen’s original sentence.

The appeals court remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina for reconsideration of the original sentence. Thursday’s re-sentencing hearing was held in order to give Mohamad Hammoud and the government the opportunity to argue a variance in U.S. sentencing guidelines.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne M. Tompkins said, “Mohamad Hammoud was a student and member of Heizbullah as a youth in his home country and came to the United States on a Hizbullah-driven mission. He loyally accomplished his mission by creating a criminal enterprise which accumulated millions of dollars in profits, purchased businesses in the U.S., preached radical Muslim fundamentalism as he led a clandestine terrorist cell in Charlotte, raised funds for the cause, and saw that the funds were delivered to Hizbullah leadership in Lebanon. His guilty verdicts rendered by the jury were upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. During his time of imprisonment while he was awaiting trial, he ordered the murder of the then prosecuting attorney and the bombing of Charlotte’s federal courthouse. He continues to this day to pose no less a threat to our country and our citizens. It is a significant sentence for a convicted terrorist. We thank the law enforcement, prosecutors, jury, and the courts for their work involved in the case along the way.

This resentencing hearing, the trial of the case in 2002 and the full appeals process represent the successful prosecution of 18 defendants for their involvement in the operation of a Hizbullah terrorist fund-raising cell in Charlotte. According to the court record, Mohamad Hammoud led a cigarette smuggling organization which was responsible for the illegal smuggling of over $8 million worth of cigarettes from North Carolina to Michigan during the late 1990s. Testimony and trial evidence showed that some of the profits from the cigarette sales were sent to Hizbullah in Lebanon by Hammoud. The 2002 trial was the first in the country of a federal “material support to a designated terrorist organization” charge. The investigation and prosecution involved law enforcement cooperation at every level: state, federal, and international, involving the substantial assistance of Canadian intelligence officials.

Mohamad Hammoud re-appealed his 30 years sentence, on Tuesday 05/15/2012, in a Federal Court, claiming that his 30-year prison sentence is disproportionate to much lighter punishments handed down in scores of similar cases that followed.


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