Roanoke car dealer sentenced to house arrest for accepting drug-tainted cash | Local News

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The owner of a Roanoke car dealership was placed under house arrest on Friday for taking $30,000 in drug-tainted cash for a car.

Abdul Ahad Nahibkhil actually accepted money from Internal Revenue Service agents, who led him to believe it was drug proceeds as part of an undercover investigation into Blue Ridge Auto Dirty.

The law Nahibkhil broke is aimed at preventing drug traffickers from hiding their ill-gotten gains, U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski told a sentencing hearing on the charge, which is rarely brought in Roanoke. .

“Let’s be clear about this: drug trafficking destroys people’s lives,” Urbanski said. “And unfortunately, Mr. Nahibkhil’s actions have furthered this destruction.”

Nahibkhil, a 36-year-old Afghan immigrant, said he was “very, very deeply sorry for what I did”.

“The United States of America gave me a second life and the chance to live here,” he said. “If I wasn’t here, I would have been dead a long time ago.”

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Last year, Nahibkhil pleaded guilty to failing to report a 2018 transaction to the IRS after learning that two payments of $15,000 each came from drug trafficking. The undercover exchange was captured on video.

Federal law requires cash payments of $10,000 or more to be reported within 15 days.

“It was pure and simple greed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Bassford said.

But Bassford did not object to a sentence of six months house arrest and two years probation, saying the defendant was “not a bad guy”. Nahibkhil’s only previous convictions were for simple possession of marijuana and failing to show up for a court hearing more than a decade ago.

There was no evidence that Nahibkhil was involved in drug trafficking, or that he actually helped a criminal organization conceal his profits, his attorney, Correy Diviney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“But he intended to, and it’s not something to be laughed at, as Mr. Nahibkhil learned the hard way,” Diviney wrote.

With a felony conviction, Nahibkhil faces uncertain immigration status and could lose his dealer’s license to sell cars.

In letters to Urbanski, family members and friends described Nahibkhil as a hardworking family man who made a one-time mistake. Although the charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, the judge saw no need for it.

“It’s an aberration,” he said of Nahibkhil’s actions.

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