Informant in St. Louis Aldermanic Corruption Cases Gets 4 Years

Mohammed Almuttan and three of his brothers sentenced for cigarette and synthetic marijuana trafficking scheme

Oct 4, 2022 at 9:58 am
click to enlarge Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. District Court. - screengrab via Google Maps
screengrab via Google Maps
Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. District Court.

Mohammad Almuttan, also known as "John Doe" and "John Smith" in the indictments that brought down four public officials, was sentenced in federal court in St. Louis to a four year prison sentence yesterday.

Almuttan, 40, was sentenced on charges related to trafficking cigarettes and synthetic marijuana. According to the 2017 indictment, Almuttan and more than 30 others were involved in a scheme to produce synthetic marijuana near Dittmer, Missouri, at a property referred to as "the Farm," and then sell it at stores run by Almuttan. Federal authorities also accused the group of buying cigarettes in Missouri, where they are relatively cheap thanks to a low cigarette tax, and selling them in Illinois and New Jersey.

Yesterday in court, U.S. Judge Ronnie White referred to Almuttan as a "“ringleader, if not the mastermind” of the trafficking scheme.

Many individuals wrote letters to Judge White requesting leniency for Almuttan. They cited his charitable contributions to local schools as well as his stores that sold groceries in areas that would otherwise be considered food deserts. However, president of the St. Louis city branch of the NAACP Adolphus Morris Pruitt II wrote to the judge that Almuttan deceived Reverend Elston McCowan, who operates a church near one of Almuttan's businesses in Walnut Park.

According to Pruitt, Almuttan approached the reverend and asked him if he would write a letter to the court on his behalf. Pruitt says in his letter that "McCowan asked Mr. Almuttan specifically if his situation was a part of the wide ranging public corruption cases before the courts." Almuttan told McCowan it was not, Pruitt says. Three of Almuttan's brothers were also sentenced yesterday for their role in the cigarette and synthetic marijuana trafficking scheme.

Rami Almuttan and Hisham Mutan were each sentenced to four years. Saddam Mutan got 46 months.

The case against Almuttan and the others would likely have remained relatively low profile if not for what occurred earlier this year.
Numerous media outlets in St. Louis have indentified Almuttan as the informant referred to as "John Doe" and "John Smith" in the indictments of former Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed, former aldermen John Collins-Muhammad and Jeffrey Boyd, and former St. Louis County jail administrator Tony Weaver.

Reed, Collins-Muhammad and Boyd were accused of accepting bribes from Almuttan in exchange for helping him get tax abatements for his businesses. Weaver was accused of helping Almuttan apply for COVID relief money in exchange for a portion of the funds.

All four men have since pleaded guilty to the corruption charges.

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