Raid leads to arrests on drug, EBT fraud charges

Khalid Mirza (from left), Uzma Mirza, Rajendra Oza (Credit: Spalding County Sheriff’s Office)

caption arrowCaption
Khalid Mirza (from left), Uzma Mirza, Rajendra Oza (Credit: Spalding County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities raided several Griffin convenience stores and the owners’ homes during a bust Thursday morning.

Griffin police told Channel 2 Action News they started looking into the businesses in September 2016 in connection with EBT fraud.

Soon, officials found evidence of gambling and drug-related crimes, which led to further investigation by county officials, the GBI, USDA, Inspector General and the lottery commission, Channel 2 reported.

caption arrowCaption
Authorities raid a Spalding County business Thursday. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Authorities raid a Spalding County business Thursday. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

caption arrowCaption
Authorities raid a Spalding County business Thursday. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Those arrested, all from Griffin, were:

-Khalid Mirza, the owner of Ma and Pa Grocery, charged with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), two counts of financial transaction card fraud, three counts of fraud in obtaining public assistance and four counts of keeping a gambling place;

-Uzma Mirza, charged with RICO, seven counts of financial transaction card fraud, eight counts of fraud in obtaining public assistance, one count of commercial gambling and three counts of transactions in drug-related objects;

-Rajendra Oza, the owner of the Griffin Food Mart, charged with RICO, eight counts of financial transaction card fraud, one count of financial transaction card theft, 11 counts of fraud in obtaining public assistance and two counts of transactions in drug-related objects.

Griffin police Lt. Michael Natale alluded that some customers may have provided tips,  while others face charges.

"Some of them have (been cheated) and some of them might be involved in that,” Natale told Channel 2. “So that's why there may be several more to come."