WOONSOCKET â€“ State Police, members of the Woonsocket Police Depart-ment, and agents of the Rhode Island Division of Taxation conducted raids at two city convenience stores Thursday that resulted in the arrest of the owners of the businesses, according to Colonel Steven G. Oâ€™Donnell, Superintendent of the State Police and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.
The arrests of Chaouki Khalil, 45, the owner of CT Plus Mart at 11 Hamlet Ave., and Mazhar Sheikh, 36, the owner of Quick Mart, at 85 Mason St., followed an investigation by members of the State Police Intelligence Unit into the illegal sale of pirated DVDs at the two city convenience stores.
The investigations began in September and resulted in the issuance of court-authorized search warrants for the two city stores, according to Oâ€™Donnell. During the execution of the search warrants, Oâ€™Donnell said, 872 pirated DVDs, and 446 pirated audio CDs and $38,967 in United States currency was seized by the responding police and tax agents.
As a result of the investigation, Oâ€™Donnell said, Khalil was charged with piracy of recordings without the consent of owner, and Sheikh with a similar charge. Both men were arraigned at the Lincoln Woods Barracks and released on personal recognizance, according to State Police.
Oâ€™Donnell reported that the wholesale loss to the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America is estimated to be about $12,000.
The charge of piracy of recordings without consent of the owner is a felony, punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for not more than six years, or by both fine and imprisonment, Oâ€™Donnell said.