March 20, 2019
Contact: Special Agent Sharon Santiago
Phone Number: (312) 353-0442
Madison area gas station owner and retailer sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $1 million
Farook Shahzad pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute synthetic cannabinoids
MADISON, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Farooq Shahzad, 50, Madison, Wis., was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 30 months in federal prison and fined $1,000,000 for conspiring to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and possessing untaxed smokeless tobacco. Shahzad further agreed to forfeit the proceeds from the sale of a gas station involved in the drug offense. Shahzad pleaded guilty to these charges on Jan. 10, 2019.
Farooq Shahzad owns and operates Capitol Petroleum, LLC (Capitol Petroleum). From July 2015 through May 2016, Shahzad conspired with certain Capitol Petroleum employees and others to distribute synthetic cannabinoids, a dangerous drug manufactured to mimic the effects of THC.
Law enforcement repeatedly instructed Shahzad and Capitol Petroleum employees to stop the sale of these dangerous drugs and executed search warrants in June 2015, seizing the inventories of two gas stations. Despite these warnings, the conspirators continued to distribute synthetic cannabinoids from a Mobil gas station located at 3505 East Washington Avenue in Madison.
During this period, Shahzad also procured and sold untaxed smokeless tobacco, evading approximately $52,000 in State of Wisconsin excise tax.
In sentencing Shahzad, Judge Peterson stated that Shahzad “compartmentalized away the illegal aspects of activities that were profitable to him.” Judge Peterson was concerned that Shahzad persisted in distributing synthetic cannabinoids even after he knew it was illegal and damaging to the community. Judge Peterson stated that he wanted the sentence to send a strong message to the business community.
The charges against Farooq Shahzad were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Revenue; and the Dane County Narcotics Task Force. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antonio M. Trillo, Aaron Wegner, and Kevin Burke.