July 11, 2013
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Local Arkansas Merchants Targeted By DEA Are Indicted For Distribution Of Designer Drugs
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) - - Acting Special Agent in Charge Joseph W. Shepherd and William J. Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today that seven individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with Project Synergy, the largest-ever coordinated law enforcement strike against designer drugs.
The indictment charges Amjad Kattom, age 36; Sahar Kattom, age 34; Yousef Qattoum, age 37;Abdul Aziz Farishta, age 50; Eassa Rawashdeh, age 23; Rodney Bryant, age 22; and Adam Kattoum, age 20, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and analogues of controlled substances, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. An additional co-conspirator, Rodney Bryant, was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Yousef Qattoum, Abdul Aziz Farishta, Amjad Kattom and Sahar Kattom were also indicted for conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also seeks to forfeit approximately $17,338.40 in United States currency and real property belonging to Amjad and Sahar Kattom.
The statutory penalty for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and analogues of controlled substances and distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and analogues of controlled substances is not more
than 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine or both, with not less than three years of supervised release to follow. The statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit money laundering is not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property
involved in the transaction, or both, with not more than three years of supervised release to follow.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA - Tactical Diversion Squad composed of DEA Special Agents, DEA Diversion Investigators, and Task Force Officers from: Little Rock Police Department, Conway Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pine Bluff Police Department. Also taking part in the investigation was Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division including Task
Force Officers from Benton Police Department and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office; with the United States Postal Inspectors, and the Little Rock Police Department. Assisting agencies were the Arkansas National Guard; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms; the United States Secret Service; the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board. Acting Special Agent in Charge Joseph W. Shepherd reminds the public that an indictment is merely an allegation, and that a defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty in a court of law.