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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
November 1, 2004

For further information contact:
Special Agent Douglas S. Collier
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 273-5095
CELL: (862) 849- 9833

Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force and DEA Seize Little Ferry Car Dealership and Arrest Three

Special Agent in Charge Michael Pasterchick, Jr., of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and New Jersey HIDTA Commander Brian Collier announced today that the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force had arrested Zakar Civan, owner and president of Zakar Motors, a luxury and exotic Car Dealership located at 202-210 Route 46 West, Little Ferry, New Jersey. Mr. Civan, a resident of Ft. Lee, NJ was charged with one count of money laundering and one count of evading reporting requirements. SAC Pasterchick stated that the investigation was a result of an undercover investigation by HIDTA, DEA, and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Undercover agents developed the case to prove that Civan concealed drug proceeds and evaded reporting requirements bound by law. Additionally, two federal search warrants were executed at Zakar Motors, both for offices controlled by Civan and his staff. Further, a seizure warrant was executed on a bank account held by Zakar Motors of Little Ferry, Inc. and /or Zakar and Raffi Civan at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.

Also arrested was Civan’s son, Raffi Civan, a/k/a “Ralph Civan”, a resident of Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and Eudelys Manzueta, a/k/a Nina Debord”, a resident of Moonachie, NJ, an office assistant for Zakar Motors. The criminal complaint charges both of these defendants with one count of money laundering and one count of evading reporting requirements.

The criminal complaints allege that certain property of Zakar Motors and Civan should be forfeited to the United States. That property includes all monies, funds, and vehicles owned by Zakar Motors and Civan.

SAC Pasterchick 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.” Further, SAC Pasterchick credited the cooperation of all the member agencies of the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force, DEA, and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

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. Chris Gramiccioni is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government. Mr. Gramiccioni 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.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program (HIDTA) was authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. HIDTA’s mission is to reduce drug trafficking and investigate money laundering organizations within designated areas. The Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force is comprised of the following agencies: DEA, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Belleville Police Department, Elizabeth Police Department, Union City Police Department, Rutgers Police Department, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, Bayonne Police Department, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark Police Department, District Attorney of New York City, New Jersey National Guard, Fort Lee Police Department, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, and New Jersey State Police. These agencies are responsible for the following New Jersey counties Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union.

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.

The federal complaint charges the defendants with money laundering and evading the reporting requirements. If convicted of the above charges, each defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $500 thousand dollar or twice the gross profit fine.

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