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18 Arrested in Khat Trafficking Investigation

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – FROM UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

 

Authorities have arrested 18 people in four states, including 10 from northern Virginia, for what they allege was an international trafficking ring that distributed nearly 10,000 pounds of the illegal African drug known as khat.

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria charged Yonis M. Ishak of Arlington as the conspiracy’s ringleader. He allegedly paid a network of couriers $1,000 each for trips to London to fetch fresh batches of khat, a leaf that gives users a high when chewed.

The drug is popular in East Africa. Of the 18 arrested, all were natives of either Somalia or Yemen.

John Torres, a special agent in charge with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, estimated the drug’s street value at $5 million.

Arrests were also made in Maryland, New York and Ohio.

Others charged as part of the alleged conspiracy include the following:

 

· Abdulkadir Isse, a/k/a “Abdul” and “Burane,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Springfield, Va., is accused of being Ishak’s partner in the khat trafficking organization.

· Suado Mohammed Ali, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Burke, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat.

· Hassan Hassan, a/k/a “Elay,” a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Ahmed Hassan, a/k/a “Dirir,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Yonas Beyene, a/k/a “Yonka,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of using his position at a vehicle rental agent to assist Ishak in renting vehicles used to transport and distribute khat.

· Ismail Abdi, a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as storing khat at his residence.

· Hibo Samantar, a/k/a “Fadumo,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Annandale, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Osman Yusuf, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Clifton, Va., is accused of using his position as a branch manager for a money service business to remit proceeds from khat sales to individuals located overseas.

· Abdirahman Jibril, a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Fairfax, Va., is accused of using his position as an employee at a money service business to remit proceeds from khat sales to individuals located overseas.

· Adbi Muhumed, a/k/a “Juba,” a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Parkville, Md., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in Maryland, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Harun Salhan, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Wheaton, Md., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in Maryland, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Lutf Mohamed Albukhaiti, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen residing in Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in New York, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Nagi Alashmali, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen residing in Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in New York, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Moheeb Nasser, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen residing in Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in New York, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Khaled Ahmed Isa, a/k/a “Adnan,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen residing in Queens Village, N.Y., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in New York, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Abdi Omar Abdi, a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Columbus, Ohio, is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in Ohio, as well as transporting khat from New York to Ohio.

· Abokor Gurreh, a/k/a “Mubarak,” Mohamed Farhan,” and “Farhan M. Mohamed,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Columbus, Ohio, is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat in Ohio, as well as transporting khat from New York to Ohio.

 

The ongoing investigation was conducted by ICE HSI with support from FBI, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Marshals Service as well as local law enforcement in Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and New York including Arlington County Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, Alexandria Police Department,

MaakhirNews.com

 

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