Marijuana complaint leads to massive drug and car theft bust in Culpeper

An anonymous tip regarding the sale of marijuana in a Culpeper neighborhood led authorities to an illegal car theft operation and a massive drug bust. 

Culpeper police said they initiated a federal narcotics and car theft investigation In March 2020.

After investigating the initial complaint, police said they found and seized marijuana, cocaine, meth, and counterfeit pressed pills that contained Fentanyl. 

That seizure sparked a joint federal investigation led by then-Culpeper Police Officer N. Overby assigned to the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force (BRNGTF), and members of the Virginia State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 

In April 2021, multiple search warrants were executed across Virginia in connection to the investigation. One of those locations was a car dealership in Spotsylvania County used to sell stolen vehicles taken throughout the United States. 

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Police then arrested Fahid Rashid, 32, of Culpeper, Virginia; Rashid’s wife, Kahlisah Zuma Khan, 31, of Culpeper, Virginia; and Akhter Ahmed, 29, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. 

Officer Overby and a multi-agency law enforcement team arrested Rashid and Khan as they boarded a domestic commercial flight from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington. 

At the time of the arrest, investigators identified nine stolen vehicles and seized over 42,000 counterfeit Xanax and Fentanyl pills, around 14 pounds of methamphetamine, $60,000 in U.S. Currency, and a firearm. The estimated street value of the seized narcotics was $1,867,000, according to police. 

The stolen vehicles, police said, had been involved in a VIN washing scheme in which their VINS were erased then re-plated and titled in Alabama using fictitious VINS. As a result of this investigation, charges were brought and prosecuted by U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia. 

In November 2022, Rashid plead guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute narcotics. 

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He was sentenced on January 23, 2023, to nine years in federal prison. Khan and Ahmed pleaded guilty in December 2022 to drug conspiracy charges and were sentenced to 45 months and 46 months, respectively. 

"We receive similar complaints on a daily basis and investigate each one," said Culpeper Police Department Acting Chief Chris Settle. "No piece of information or suspicion is too small or trivial to ignore. 

"In this particular case, a small tip from a private citizen grew into a sweeping multi-state federal investigation that removed a massive drug supplier from our community and broke up a major motor theft ring. None of this would have been possible without the help from Town of Culpeper Police Department."