ST. LOUIS – The ringleader of a cigarette smuggling operation previously exposed in FOX Files reports was sentenced Monday to federal prison.

Mohammed Almuttan, 40, received a four-year sentence, along with his brothers, Rami Almuttan and Hisham Mutan. A fourth brother, Saddam Mutan, was sentenced to 46 months.

A May 2017 indictment accused the men of smuggling, money laundering, and selling illegal synthetic drugs, sometimes in condiment cups over the counter, from their convenience stores in north St. Louis City and County. Thirty-five people were named in the indictment at the time.

Prosecutors said Mohammed Almuttan’s conspiracy netted them $8 million from transporting cheap Missouri cigarettes to places like Chicago and New York City, where the high cigarette taxes have inspired smugglers to sneak cheaper cigs into those cities and resell them for a profit.

Almuttan and his brothers pleaded guilty in April 2022 to conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes. As a result, federal prosecutors tossed the remaining charges.