A man from Memphis has been arrested and indicted for trafficking counterfeit airbags from China, the Western District of Tennessee U.S. Attorney’s Office recently announced.

Mohammed Al-Abadi, 51, was 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, according to the attorney’s office.

Citing United States Attorney Kevin Ritz and the information presented in court, the attorney’s office reports that Al-Abadi imported, assembled, and sold counterfeit motor vehicle airbag parts from China on eBay to automobile repair shops and individual customers from October 1, 2019, to January 14, 2021.

More than 2,000 counterfeit airbags and parts were recovered by federal agents from Al-Abadi’s residence and place of business.

Al-Abadi faces up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of two million dollars for trafficking in the counterfeit airbags if convicted. In addition, he also faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 if convicted for causing the transportation of hazardous materials by air carrier.

Both charges Al-Abadi faces carry a period of up to three years supervision following release from imprisonment, the attorney’s office notes.

“The alleged actions of the defendant have placed unsuspecting motorists and the general public in harm’s way,” United States Attorney Ritz said in a statement. “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.”

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General are investigating the case.

“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,” Todd Damiani, Special Agent in Charge at the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Southern Region stated.

Rana Saoud, Special Agent in Charge at HSI Nashville, added, “The defendant will now have to answer for his alleged criminal actions that put consumers’ lives at risk.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Airbag” by Rahul Pugazhendi.