News Release
November 8, 2007
For further Information
Contact: Special Agent Douglas S. Collier,
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CELL: (862) 849-9833

DEA New Jersey Arrests Five in Largest Ever Ecstasy Seizure in New Jersey

NOV 8 --(NEWARK) – Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division and Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest, announced the successful completion of the arrests and seizures of an international ecstasy operation.

To date, there have been 5 individuals arrested federally for their roles in this international narcotics enterprise network. Approximately 122 pounds of Ecstasy, 150 pounds of Hydro Marijuana, 3 assault rifles, 3 semiautomatic handguns, swords, fighting knifes, and approximately $120,0000.00 in U.S. Currency has been seized. The ecstasy seized has an estimated street value of well over $5.5 million dollars. This is the largest seizure of ecstasy within the State of New Jersey.

The investigation began on Friday, November 2, 2007, in which several of the defendants were arrested. Fouad Hanna, 47 year old Lebanese born citizen, has been identified as the leader of this organization. Additionally, throughout this investigation, several other defendants were arrested and found in possession of these illegal weapons and drugs. Subsequently, a variety of investigative tools were then utilized to identify other members of the narcotics distribution network as well as their methods of operation.

Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New Jersey Division stated, “This significant seizure is a classic example of how successful partnerships within law enforcement can enhances our efforts to stop illegal drugs and violence throughout New Jersey. Taking these amounts of weapons, drugs, and money from this organization eliminates any potential future violence against the citizens of New Jersey.”

The following is an outline of defendants arrested, charges, and seizures made during the investigation:

1. Fouad Hanna, 48, Little Ferry, NJ
2. Abdel Kanan, 42, West New York, NJ
3. Michael Rodrigues, 27, North Plainfield, NJ
4. Charles Helou, 42, Brooklyn, NY
5. Hanna Abdulkarim, 39, Palisades Park, NJ

The above defendants are charge with the following:

1. USC-21-846-Conspiracy to Distribute and Posses a Controlled Substance
2. USC- 18-1956- Money Laundering
3. USC 18-922k- willful possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number that had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

122 pounds of Ecstasy
150 pounds of Hydro Marijuana
$120,000.00 US Currency
AK-47 Assault Rifle
AR-15 Assault Rifle
Uzi Assault Pistol
Desert Eagle .50 caliber handgun
2 semi-auto pistols
8 swords and multiple fighting knifes

Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge further commended all the participating agencies with their dedication and commitment to this investigation. The departments are as follows: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, East Orange Police Department, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Internal Revenue Service, Jersey City Police Department, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, and Paterson Police Department.

Despite these charges every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.