Joint Task Force Arrests Eleven For Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering and Loan Fraud
The DEA and the FBI, with the assistance of the IRS, the Glendale Police Department and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, arrested eleven individuals today on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and loan fraud, announced Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, Stephen Delgado, and Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI, Richard T. Garcia. Multiple criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court on April 25 and 26, 2005, indicate that in December 2003, German State Police and the DEA in Frankfurt seized approximate 271 kilograms of opium from a drug organization run by Gholam Hassan Nasseri-Jafar. Nasseri-Jafar and his associates were arrested, and further investigation uncovered an international opium ring, where the opium was obtained from Iran, passed through Germany and shipped to Los Angeles, according to the complaints.
The DEA and the FBI continued the investigation in Los Angeles, which lead to the discovery of a local opium trafficking organization run by Mehrdad Lari, the owner of Mallery Design, a jewelry store located in the Jewelry District in downtown Los Angeles. Lari, and his associate, Ali Mojaddam, distributed the opium received from Nasseri-Jara in Germany, and wired the sale proceeds to various international locations. Additionally, Lari used the proceeds to acquire real property and high value vehicles, as well as set up limited liability corporations and refinance real property and homes.
Those arrested on Wednesday for possession with intent to distribute opium include: Mehrdad Lari, 47, of Santa Monica, Ali Mojaddam, 32, of Los Angeles, Kamran Atarzadeh, 53, of Los Angeles and Faramarz Bokhour, 55, of Los Angeles. Mojaddam’s wife, Marjan Sarshar, 47, of Santa Monica was arrested for loan fraud. The following individuals were arrested for money laundering: Bijan Kohanzad, 43, of Brentwood, Houshyar Babelpour, 44, of Woodland Hills, Benham Azimi, 45, of Pasadena, Mehdi Ilkani, 58, of Santa Monica, Fariborz Ahl, 44, of Los Angeles and Moussa Abadiah, 55, of Beverly Hills. All of the arrests were conducted in the Los Angeles area.
The defendants arrested are being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. They will be afforded an initial appearance this afternoon in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
In addition to the arrests, search warrants related to this investigation were executed at thirteen locations in the Los Angeles area.
This case will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles United States Attorney’s Office.
DEA PIO: Jose Martinez (213) 621-6714
FBI Press Office: Cathy Viray (310) 996 – 3804 or Laura Eimiller (310) 996 – 3341
United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles : Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947