A Queens man attempted to smuggle two dogs from Russia through JFK inside a secret compartment in his carry-on luggage — and get another nine past customs using sketchy medical paperwork, US officials allege.
Ildar Gimadiev, 35, of Corona declared three Dobermans, four Yorkshire terriers, a Dalmatian and a Golden Retriever at Kennedy Airport customs on Sept. 8 — only for CDC reviewers to conclude their vaccination papers were possible forgeries, according to documents filed by Brooklyn federal prosecutors Monday.
Workers then discovered two more undeclared Yorkies in a “hidden compartment” while unloading Gimadiev’s carry-on dog bag at the airport kennel, prosecutors allege.
“CDC has reviewed the case and determined that 2 dogs were found in a hidden compartment of your carry-on animal carrier that were not declared,” the agency wrote in its Sept. 10 decision to deport the litter back to Russia, according to the court docs.
“Additionally, CDC has reason to believe that documents associated with this shipment may have been falsified based on several discrepancies in paperwork.”
Gimadiev, who also had a dog sent back to Russia by customs in July due to an incomplete vaccination form, has sued to keep the pups in the US, insisting his pooch paperwork is on the level and that the other dogs weren’t hidden.
“They say I am trying to smuggle. I say, listen, if I was trying to smuggle, I would not do it this way,” he told The Post on Monday. “They say it is a hidden compartment, it is not. It has two sides.”
But in the memo filed Monday, prosecutors opposed allowing the dogs to stay, citing Gimadiev’s “pattern of seeking to import dogs from the Russian Federation without securing valid rabies vaccination certificates prior to entering the United States.”
Of the nine dogs Gimadiev declared, five had rabies forms signed by a vet named “Margarita Antonova” — but with two different veterinary stamps and three different signatures, according to court docs.
Two others had forms signed by “Veronika Shishkina,” but not with the same signature. Another animal’s form was signed by “Nikita Shlyaner,” whose signature “closely resembled” that of Shishkina, the CDC concluded.
Gimadiev insisted to The Post he is just a middle-man who transports dogs to American buyers in exchange for free airfare.
He claimed the two “hidden” Yorkies were for his daughter and his niece, while the Dalmatian — named Everything’s Evil — was for his brother.
“The owners buy them from breeders all over Russia. I am just transporting them. I do not buy or sell the dogs,” Gimadiev said. “You can not get those here. The pure breed Dalmatians. The spots need to be round.”
One of the Dobermans, named Ataka Rajana Aura Victory, was bound for a breeder in Venice, Florida, called Key to My Heart Dobermans, the company confirmed.
A now-deleted June 30 post to the breeder’s Facebook page included eight photos of the pup, along with a notice that its delivery to the US was “delayed by COVID-19.”
Gimadiev’s attorney said the CDC confiscated the dogs “based on conjecture and suspicion.”
“They’re not saying the dogs didn’t have the rabies shot. They’re saying ‘I don’t trust the signature,’ ” Richard Rosenthal said. “The fact that two different vets have the same name is indicative of nothing.”
Three rabid dogs have been imported into the US in the last five years, the CDC said in its court filings — all from high-risk countries like Russia.
The federal health agency did not immediately return a request for comment.
An emergency court hearing on the dogs’ stalled departure is scheduled for Friday.
Six accused of starting Oregon blazes amid wildfire season
At least six men in Oregon have been accused of intentionally setting blazes during the state’s devastating wildfire season, according to a report.
There is no evidence that the suspects were motivated by politics, despite conspiracies that such an animus has fueled the fires that have burned more than a million acres, Oregon Lives reported.
Instead, some of the blazes were attributed to petty beef, relationship troubles and enjoying the “smell of smoke,” officials said.
One of the alleged arsonists, Jedediah Ezekiel Fulton, 39, was discovered setting fires July 28 in the woods outside Glide after he became upset with a member of a local forest protection organization, the outlet reported.
“Jedediah was mad because the guy from (the Douglas Forest Protection Association) would not help him and not give him a ride to town,” authorities wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
Then, Elias Newton Pendergrass, 44, was busted in connection with the Sweet Creek Fires on Aug. 30 after threatening to burn down the town of Mapletown if his girlfriend broke up with him, the outlet reported.
Others appear to have troubled backgrounds.
Jonathan Wayne Maas, 44, was busted for starting a blaze Sept. 9 near a disc golf course in Dexter, about 20 miles from the Holiday Farm fire that has spread to 170,000 acres.
Maas — whose rap sheet includes convictions for forgery, burglary and firearm possession – confessed to authorities that he tossed a flare into a forested area in the hopes of starting a fire, the outlet reported.
Then two days later, 53-year-old Samuel Piatt, who is homeless, told officers that he “likes the smell of smoke” when he was busted for lighting a large pile of leaves in Oregon City, the report said.
Another homeless man, Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was accused of going on a 12-hour spree that began Sept. 13 in which he set multiple brush fires along Interstate 2015 in Portland, the outlet reported.
He admitted to the fires and was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, authorities said.
Glenn Corbett, a professor of fire science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the wildfire coverage could be motivating those with incendiary tendencies to commit the crimes.
“All that people are talking about right now is these fires, it’s on TV and in the newspapers,” Glenn told the outlet. “I would imagine this could be sort of a motivator for people who had those types of tendencies to begin with. It can certainly move them to becoming a participant.”
Fatal shootings across NYC have nearly doubled since 2019: NYPD
Nearly twice as many people have died to gun violence in Gotham this year than last, striking new figures from the NYPD show.
A total of 209 people were shot and killed in the five boroughs as of Wednesday — compared to 109 over the same period in 2019.
Overall, 1,362 people have been shot in 1,106 incidents as of Wednesday, more than double the 674 victims in 575 shootings last year, the data shows.
The numbers come as the city continues to grapple with a spike in gunplay this year.
The Post reported Saturday that fewer witnesses are also coming forward this year, making it more difficult for cops to crack down on gun violence.
Woman’s $45M jury award puts cash-strapped NYC at risk: lawyers
The city is asking an appeals court to lower an Upper West Side philanthropist’s $45-million personal-injury payout — even though it wasn’t part of the lawsuit — because it’s afraid the payday sets a precedent that could force cash-strapped municipal agencies and authorities further into the red.
The city’s Law Department, the New York City Housing Authority, and the New York City Transit Authority are asking judges from Manhattan’s Appellate Division to lower the $45 million awarded to Marion Hedges, who suffered severe brain damage following the October 2011 incident at the East River Plaza mall in East Harlem when teens threw a shopping cart from a 79-foot-high landing outside a Target store.
Hedges, 55, won the record-setting award in 2018. The trial court judge slashed the amount in half but the injured mom of two is still battling insurance companies for the mall and its security firm for payment.
No public entities are party to the case, but the city’s legal minds fear the eight-figure award would set a dangerous precedent, driving up future legal costs in lawsuits against the city and transit authority, government lawyers argue in new court papers.
“The court’s vigilance is needed now more than ever,” Devin Slack, assistant corporation counsel for Mayor de Blasio’s Law Department, writes to a panel of appeals court judges.
“State and local governments across the country face unprecedented fiscal crises and are making deep cuts to public services, from education and health care,” he says in the recent brief.
The COVID-19 shutdown deprived the city of at least $9 billion in revenue.
“Why should the city and the MTA by pointing out their unquestionably difficult circumstances as a result of COVID deprive this one plaintiff of her justice and her day in court after seven years? That’s my response to this,” Hedges’ attorney, Thomas Moore, told The Post.
“The MTA is in the midst of a once in a 100 years fiscal tsunami that has demolished 40 percent of our revenue,” writes MTA lawyer Lawrence Heisler, noting that it faces a $16 billion deficit through 2024 with ridership at less than 30 percent of pre-coronavirus levels.
“That new reality demands that Courts condemn ‘anchoring,’ the practice of counsel asking the jury to return an unjustifiably high award. That practice yields results, seducing juries into delivering awards that differ wildly from reasonable compensation,” Heisler argues.
The MTA’s own personal injury payouts have skyrocketed from just $43 million in 2007 to $150 million in 2019.
“Many of the individual payouts are a direct result of the anchoring tactics that warp the deliberations of lay jurors,” Heisler writes.
The city and NYCHA’s litigation costs are similarly burdensome. The Big Apple faces about 17,000 new personal injury cases annually that result in average compensation of $100,000 each. That amount has quadrupled over the past seven years. NYCHA sets aside tens of millions of dollars yearly to fend off lawsuits.
“Raising the ceiling for pain and suffering awards would make a bad situation worse, to the detriment of the city’s residents,” de Blasio administration lawyer Slack adds in the brief.
The appeals panel is expected to rule on the matter by early next year.
“If the court upholds these outsized jury awards, and personal injury trial lawyers are allowed to continue these tactics, it will be open season on already cash-strapped city agencies,” said Tom Stebbins, director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.
“Like sharks to a shipwreck, every lawyer in town will smell blood in the water while taxpayer-funded city and MTA budgets are drowning,” Stebbins told The Post.
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