SALT LAKE CITY -- The federal government is seeking the forfeiture of about $219,000 from a Davis County smoke shop owner and his business associate.
Adel Al-Mukahel, owner of Victor's Smoke Shop in Kaysville and VIP Smokes and Hookah in South Jordan, and his associate, Hani Al-Saimari, have been indicted for the following offenses:
* Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue.
* Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
* Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
* Conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Each offense carries a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years.
In addition, Al-Mukahel is also charged with money laundering, which has a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah David B. Barlow indicated in court records the money targeted for forfeiture includes cash and funds from savings and checking accounts.
Al-Mukahel and Al-Saimari were arrested following an 11-month undercover investigation at Victor's Smoke Shop and VIP Smokes and Hookah, completed in November.
Police seized more than 27 pounds of spice, including more than 11 pounds from Al-Mukahel's residence in West Valley City, according to the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force.
The spice has an estimated street value of nearly $60,000.
Spice, a synthetic drug that gives the user a marijuana-like high, is banned in Utah.
Al-Mukahel is considered dangerous because of his association with Maithan Alfatwali, described as a ranking member of the Iraqi Mafia gang that operates in the Salt Lake City area, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Matt Fairbanks has said in court documents.
A trial date in the case is pending.