News Release
January 18, 2007

Hamtramck Businessman Pleads Guilty to Moving Cash
for Major Drug Organization

JAN 18 -- Raheel “Ray” Shiekh, 45, of Warren, pleaded guilty to money laundering, United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy announced today.

Mr. Murphy was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, United States Drug Enforcement Administration and Special Agent in Charge Maurice Aouate, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

According to court records, during 2004 and 2005, Sheikh agreed to assist the Quasand Lewis drug organization in the purchase of several buildings in Detroit and elsewhere. Shiekh took delivery of over $1.2 million in currency, and using family members and friends, converted the cash to cashiers checks. These cashiers checks where used to purchase the “West Park” Apartments, in Detroit and other buildings in Highland Park, Michigan, Clarkson, Georgia, and Pembroke Pines, Florida. All the properties where purchased in nominee names to conceal and disguise the nature and ownership of the illegal proceeds. Shiekh received a commission of $25,000 from the Lewis drug organization.

On December 11, 2006, Lewis was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for his role in illegal drug trafficking after admitting that he organized the distribution of more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana here in the Detroit area.

“I salute the dedication and tireless efforts of the entire law enforcement team who worked together to bring down the Lewis drug organization,” United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said. “Their dedication reflects the finest in cooperation and teamwork between federal and local law enforcement agencies.”

Special Agent in Charge Corso stated, “Mr. Shiekh‘s guilty plea highlights the significant role money laundering played to support the drug trafficking of this organization. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to leave no stone unturned while uncovering the money and assets gain through illegal means.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Aouate stated that, "Drug dealers and the people they solicit to help them, like any other criminals, are motivated by greed. IRS Criminal Investigation's unique role is to follow the money trail and, in partnership with DEA and other law enforcement agencies, identify all the guilty parties, shutting them down for good.”

A sentencing date will be set by the Court.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Janice Terbush.