Million-dollar stolen-phone ring busted in Houston area

Federal agents and Houston police have arrested three people they say are connected to a $65 million organized crime and money-laundering operation in the Houston area.

Authorities simultaneously raided two homes and a business yesterday morning in Richmond, Sugar Land and New Territory in Fort Bend County, taking two men and a woman into custody. At the "We Buy Phones" store on Harwin, some 1,900 stolen electronic devices worth almost $1.8 million were recovered.

Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the Houston Police Major Offenders Division, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office took part.

According to authorities, the store regularly bought stolen cellphones, then smuggled them out of the country where they were sold for huge profits. The suspects then laundered the illicit income, investigators said. Search warrants were issued for 14 accounts at eight different banks through which revenue from the scheme was allegedly moved.

Homeland Security identified suspects as Akber Jesani, 39, Hardin Ameena, 28, and Shamshuddin Dosani, 52.

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