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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Nashville, a Memphis man has been indicted and arrested for one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods and one count of causing the criminal transportation of hazardous materials by air carrier.

Mohammed Al-Abadi, 51, was indicted in the Western District of Tennessee.

“The diligent and extensive investigative work by our special agents led to the discovery of the sale of fraudulent, counterfeit airbags, sold by bypassing regulatory oversight meant to keep dangerous and ineffective products out of the U.S. market,” said HSI Nashville Special Agent in Charge Rana Saoud. “The defendant will now have to answer for his alleged criminal actions that put consumers lives at risk.”

According to the information presented in court, from about Oct. 1, 2019, to Jan. 14, 2021, Al-Abadi imported counterfeit motor vehicle airbag parts from China, assembled them, and sold them on eBay to unsuspecting automobile repair shops and individual customers. Federal agents recovered more than 2,000 counterfeit airbags and parts from the defendant’s residence and place of business.

“The alleged actions of the defendant have placed unsuspecting motorists and the general public in harm’s way,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz. “Vehicle airbags are subject to strict quality standards which must be followed to ensure passenger safety. The defendant’s alleged actions undermined the efforts of the automobile industry and regulatory bodies to keep the public safe.”

“Counterfeit airbags are not regulated or tested to ensure they meet federal safety standards, and when transported and used by unsuspecting consumers, they can be unsafe and lead to potentially grave consequences,” said Special Agent in Charge Todd Damiani of the Department of Transportation’s Southern Region’s Office of Inspector General. “The indictment and arrest handed down demonstrates the continuous coordination with our federal and prosecutorial partners to curtail the flow of these dangerous and illegal automobile products into the United States.”

If convicted, Al-Abadi faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $2 million for trafficking in the counterfeit airbags. He also faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for causing the transportation of hazardous materials by air carrier. Both charges carry a period of up to three years’ supervision following release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by HSI and the United States Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Raney Irwin is prosecuting this case.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news Tennessee man charged with trafficking counterfeit airbags from China Government Agency News