WEST OCEAN CITY — One of two local brothers indicted again in October for his role in a vast cigarette trafficking and tax fraud scheme appeared in a New York court on Wednesday and remains held on a $2.5 million bond.
Basel Ramadan, 47, of West Ocean City, appeared in Kings County, N.Y. Supreme Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. Ramadan’s West Ocean City home was raided for the second time in five years in October by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Homeland Security (HSI) officials with support from local law enforcement agencies as part of Operation Sidestep, a months-long investigation into criminal cigarette smuggling and various money-laundering and tax-related crimes.
Basel Ramadan, who was taken into custody along with his brother Samir Ramadan, was indicted in New York as a result of the investigation. The local brothers had been arrested and ultimately convicted of the same crimes in 2013. Basel Ramadan had an initial appearance in Kings County Supreme Court on Wednesday was ordered to be held on a $2.5 million bond, or a $1 million cash bond, neither of which had been posted as of late Thursday. Basel Ramadan’s trial has now been tentatively set in for Feb. 13. The disposition of Samir Ramadan’s case is not known as of Friday.