Two adjoining brick buildings with matching red overhangs are more than just a convenience store. The small complex has a check-cashing business, a liquor store and a deli, QP’s Crunch.
The unassuming Quick Pantry of Orangeburg also boasts an “ICE COLD BEER CAVE” and has “no loitering” signs posted.
FBI and Homeland Security agents raided the 2182 Magnolia Ave., Orangeburg location at 9:20 a.m. Aug. 21. About 100 miles away that same morning, federal authorities searched the Greenwood Dairy Queen and a Hunter’s Creek residence.
FBI spokesman Don Wood told the Index-Journal the raids were linked. Authorities, however, were investigating different possible crimes in Orangeburg and Greenwood, according to search warrant applications. Investigators were looking for evidence of an unlicensed money transfer business at the Oakmonte Circle house and the Dairy Queen along Bypass 72. The Quick Pantry, however, was searched for evidence of harboring aliens, unlawful employment of aliens and conspiracy.
The affidavits supporting search warrant applications in this case, which would explain what evidence authorities used to obtain the warrants, remain sealed. No one was charged in connection with the Quick Pantry raid and nothing linked Dairy Queen to employing undocumented immigrants.
In charging documents against the two Greenwood men — Anis Momin and Mihirkumar “Mike” Jayantibhai Patel — authorities said the arrests were part of a larger, “ongoing investigation into public corruption, immigration fraud, and criminal enterprise activity throughout South Carolina and other states.”
From the Orangeburg-based convenience store chain, agents seized business records from 2014 to 2018 as well as tax documents, employee records, copies of identification and immigration documents, computers and a number of other documents, including receipts and handwritten notes.
Agents also took personal tax returns for four individuals, including Pankajbhai J. Patel, of 193 Cloister Cove Lane, Orangeburg. Pankajbhai Patel is the registered agent for Quick Pantry of Orangeburg and QP Fuel LLC.
No one was at the nearly half-million-dollar property to take the receipt from agents.
From Greenwood’s Dairy Queen, authorities seized $4,828.05 in cash, an Indian passport, an iPhone, a check binder and employee records. An affidavit indicates Momin told authorities he had an unlocked safe at the restaurant that contained $200,000.
The items seized from Mike Patel’s house included a number of documents, a handwritten ledger, two iPhones, a computer, a digital camera, USB drives and a memory card. Something not taken from his house was cash, even as court documents discuss his boasting about large sums of cash on multiple occasions, including telling an FBI confidential source that he hid trashbags of cash in his attic and at other locations in his residence. The search warrant allowed agents to seize “cash in excess of $5,000 or currencies of foreign countries.”
Investigators separately executed a search warrant on the contents of one of the phones seized from the house.
Charging documents allege Mike Patel and Momin, who goes by the alias Eddie Patel, operated an unlicensed money transfer business, with Mike Patel informing an FBI source that they were doing $1 million in business a month.
No bond has been set for Momin, who remains in custody. Last week, a federal judge set a $250,000 secured bond for Mike Patel. He was released Tuesday after posting bail and going through a bond execution hearing.