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News Release
July 1, 2003

DEA Arrests Two Suspects and Seizes Linden Car Dealership

photo - car dealershipActing Special Agent in Charge Alexander Gourley of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today that the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force had arrested Hishem G. Sadek, owner and president of Auto Village, a luxury and exotic Car Dealership located in Linden, New Jersey. Sadek of Matawan was charged with two counts of money laundering in June of this year. SAC Gourley stated that the investigation was as a result of an undercover investigation by HIDTA and the DEA. Undercover agents posing as heroin traffickers purchased a Mercedes Benz Automobile for $28,900 in cash in several transactions. However, Sadek concealed the purchase by reflecting a $9000 down payment and the remainder of the sale as financed by Sadek's Auto Village. Sadek structured the transaction to keep the sale below the $10,000 Federal-reporting requirement.

Also arrested was Sadek's brother-in-law Tarek Aziz Ayoub, Auto Village's office manager. Ayoub prepared the paperwork for the Mercedes' purchase. The criminal complaint charges that both defendants were made aware by undercover agents that the money used in purchasing the automobile were profits from heroin trafficking.

SAC Gourley credited the cooperation of all the member agencies of the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force; the United States Marshall's Service, the Linden and Roselle Police Departments and the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles. SAC Gourley stressed that "the cooperation between agencies was paramount to the success of drug and money laundering investigations".

The criminal complaints also allege that certain property of Auto Village and Sadek should be forfeited to the United States. That property includes funds and vehicles owned by Auto Village and Sadek. Seizure warrants were executed on an Auto Village bank account and certain vehicles owned by both Auto Village and Sadek.

New Jersey HIDTA Commander Michael Pasterchick Jr. stated "this investigation sends a strong message to individuals and businesses that choose to facilitate drug trafficking organizations by laundering illicit drug proceeds. DEA and HIDTA are committed to tracking the illegal proceeds derived from drug trafficking, to enable us to eliminate the infrastructure of drug organizations and remove the profits enjoyed by drug traffickers."

The investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey headed by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. Eli J. Richardson is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government. Mr. Richardson indicated that the purpose of the seizures was to preserve the availability of this property for forfeiture in the event that the Government obtains a judgment of forfeiture.

Notwithstanding the criminal complaint, 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 U.S. Constitution and federal law.

For further inquiries regarding this investigation, please contact Special Agent Mark Moger, Public Information DEA-Newark at 973-273-5322.

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