Whoopsie. Nevermind. Sorry. My Bad.
Last winter, federal authorities warned local officials to be on the lookout for anyone buying large numbers of prepaid cell phones â€” devices that could become potential tools for terrorists.
Authorities in Michigan and Ohio clearly listened: In the space of only a few days last week, they arrested five men and charged them with terrorism-related offenses.
But in the days since, the two cases have grown more complicated.
On Monday, an Ohio prosecutor said he was dropping the charges he brought against two Michigan men because he could not prove a terrorism link. And the FBI said Monday it had no information to indicate that three Texas men arrested in Michigan had direct terror ties.
Prosecutors in Michigan, however, were standing by the charges against the three Palestinian-American men living in Texas, though they have not said what they believe the men intended to do with the phones.
Officials have said various illegal acts can be committed with prepaid cell phones, including using them as detonators, communicating among terrorists and using the batteries to make methamphetamine.
â€œI donâ€™t know how many of you have ever gone to a store to purchase 80-100 cell phones at a time,â€ Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday in Chicago. â€œI would consider that somewhat unusual and I think it would be perfectly legitimate to say, â€™Hey, is there something going on here?â€â€™
Well, if you didn’t know anything about wholesaling, retailing, or the gray market you might think that. But there is a whole world out there of people who buy at big box stores and then resell elsewhere on small margin. Take a look at any Best Buy ad that feature a new CD at $9.99 and puts a limit of 3 per customer/no dealers. That’s because those CD’s are being sold as a loss leader (below cost) to drive traffic into the stores. So why should the little guy buy from a distributor when he can save $2 per unit by buying from the competition down the street?
And its not just the little guys.
There was a time when certain larger prestige brand companies didn’t want their products in Wal-Mart or Price Club because they felt those stores were “brand-killers” and so those warehouse stores came to people like me and I got them tens of thousands of units at $2 per unit above my cost, paid in cash when they picked them up in their own trucks at my warehouse. We didn’t even have to open the containers and count, just write the purchase order, call them when it arrived, and collect the money. That’s making $25,000 with two phone calls.
You could even use a cell phone.