Lodge Proprietor, Two Lodge Corporations Sentenced For Intercourse And Drug Trafficking In Monroe County | USAO-MDPA
SCRANTON: The US Lawyer’s Workplace for the Center District of Pennsylvania introduced that Decide Malachy E. Mannion sentenced Nazim Hassam, age 70, of Bartonsville, Pennsylvania, on Might 13, 2022 to 60 months in jail and a $150,000 nice for drug trafficking offenses.
Decide Mannion additionally sentenced Om Sri Sai, Inc., a Pennsylvania company, to 5 years of Probation for intercourse and drug trafficking violations and ordered the corporate to forfeit $2 million to the federal government. Decide Mannion additionally sentenced the Pocono Plaza Inn, previously referred to as the High quality Inn, positioned in Stroudsburg, to 5 years of Probation and a $50,000 nice for sustaining a drug-related premises.
Hassam and the 2 resort firms, together with co-defendant Faizal Bhimani, have been convicted of intercourse trafficking and drug trafficking costs after a two-week jury trial in Scranton, Pennsylvania in October 2020.
In line with United States John C. Gurganus, Om Sri Sai, Inc., an organization that owned and operated a Howard Johnson resort positioned at 1779 N. ninth St., Bartonsville, and Faizal Bhimani, the overall supervisor of that resort, have been each convicted of Intercourse Trafficking by Pressure, Fraud, and Coercion and Aiding and Abetting the identical, and Intercourse Trafficking Conspiracy, in addition to Drug Trafficking Conspiracy and Managing a Drug-Associated Premises. The jury additionally discovered the Pocono Plaza Inn responsible of Managing a Drug-Associated Premises, and Nazim Hassam, part-owner and Vice President of Om Sri Sai and managing shareholder of each motels, responsible of Drug Trafficking Conspiracy and two counts of Managing a Drug-Associated Premises.
The jury additional discovered that each one property owned by Om Sri Sai, Inc. was property that facilitated the corporate’s intercourse trafficking and drug trafficking crimes and was subsequently topic to legal forfeiture. The corporate reached an settlement with the federal government to pay over a money forfeiture within the quantity of $2 million instead asset in lieu of the corporate’s property.
Bhimani was beforehand sentenced to 180 months in jail. Decide Mannion additionally ordered Om Sri Sai, Inc. to pay restitution totaling $277,630 to 2 intercourse trafficking victims. Beneath the Trafficking Victims Safety Act, restitution to victims is obligatory. The restitution on this case represents the worth to the defendant and coconspirators of economic intercourse providers rendered, prices of future trauma counseling, medical bills, and different prices incurred because of the trafficking.
These convictions marked the end result of a six-year, joint investigation into intercourse trafficking, drug trafficking, and violent crime in Monroe County by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Process Pressure (OCDETF). This case started in 2014 with an FBI investigation into the Black P Stone gang, a set of the Bloods that was accountable for gun violence and drug trafficking in Monroe County on the time. Native companies, together with the Stroud Space Regional Police Division and the Monroe County District Lawyer’s Workplace, joined the hassle early on, and ultimately expanded past the P Stones to uncover extra widespread intercourse and drug trafficking in Monroe County.
The proof at trial, introduced via greater than 35 witnesses and over 150 reveals, established that the Howard Johnson Lodge in Bartonsville was a secure haven for legal exercise between 2011 and 2019. Bhimani, as supervisor of the Howard Johnson, made rooms accessible for intercourse traffickers and drug sellers, and at occasions took fee for the resort straight from the proceeds of legal exercise. Hassam, Bhimani, and others positioned legal actors within the rear, first-floor hallway of the Howard Johnson to protect their actions from view from the road and from non-criminal friends. Proof confirmed that Hassam accepted direct fee at occasions from drug traffickers and at occasions didn’t enter these people into the resort’s laptop information. Testimony established that Hassam was notified by workers of legal exercise, however instructed them to not name police. Law enforcement officials testified that Hassam’s motels have been thought-about high-crime areas and that they responded to at the very least six overdoses on the two motels, at the very least one in all which resulted in demise.
Bhimani additionally traded discounted and free rooms for intercourse, which intercourse traffickers would direct their victims to offer. Dozens of girls have been compelled by a number of traffickers, generally referred to as pimps, to have interaction in business intercourse within the resort both by bodily pressure, threats, false guarantees, or coercion, together with via blackmail and drug habit. Girls who have been hooked on heroin, crack, or different managed substances have been supplied with simply sufficient medicine to maintain them working, and pimps used their addictions and the specter of withdrawal to manage them. A number of admitted intercourse traffickers testified on the trial, explaining how they used these varied strategies to compel girls to promote intercourse and switch over all the proceeds. A number of survivors additionally testified that they have been required to comply with the traffickers’ guidelines, have been pressured to rely fully on the traffickers for meals, clothes, even hygiene merchandise, they usually have been typically punished for violations with violence, together with sexual assault.
Bhimani was intently related to a number of of those traffickers, the proof confirmed, and knew of the strategies used to compel the victims to have intercourse for cash. Different workers on the resort knew as nicely, and the proof confirmed that at the very least two different workers engaged in intercourse with victims, together with Hassam. Bhimani additionally warned intercourse traffickers and drug sellers when legislation enforcement have been current on the resort, together with throughout the manhunt for Eric Frein in 2014. A number of admitted intercourse traffickers and drug sellers testified to efficiently evading detection by police because of warnings from Bhimani. The resort allowed recognized criminals to examine in underneath assumed names and even avenue names, and Bhimani and Hassam each took steps to impede police efforts to find suspects.
The Court docket discovered that Hassam knew concerning the legal exercise at his motels, directed workers to not flip drug sellers and drug customers away, and actively allowed legal actors to lease rooms on the motels so he may make cash. The Court docket additionally concluded that Hassam testified falsely at trial and enhanced his sentencing tips accordingly for Obstruction of Justice.
In all, forty defendants have been convicted federally because of this investigation, lots of whom trafficked girls and medicines within the Bartonsville Howard Johnson and the Pocono Plaza Inn. Different defendants have been charged and convicted in state courts. The investigation has resulted within the dismantlement of the P Stones in addition to a second gang, the Brick Metropolis Brims, and the disruption of two extra, the Blood Stone Villains and the Bloodhound Brims. Investigators have seized a number of kilograms of heroin and cocaine, in addition to portions of fentanyl, cocaine base (“crack”), methamphetamine, marijuana, and MDMA (“molly”), and took at the very least 10 unlawful firearms off the streets.
This prosecution is a part of an intensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Process Pressure (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and native cooperative method to fight drug trafficking and is the nation’s major software for disrupting and dismantling main drug trafficking organizations, concentrating on nationwide and regional degree drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the required legislation enforcement entities and assets to disrupt or dismantle the focused legal group and seize their belongings.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Stroud Space Regional Police Division, the Monroe County District Lawyer’s Workplace, and the Pennsylvania State Police, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean A. Camoni and Jenny Roberts.
This case was introduced as a part of a district huge initiative to fight the nationwide epidemic relating to the use and distribution of heroin. Led by the US Lawyer’s Workplace, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers working within the Center District of Pennsylvania and is a part of a coordinated effort amongst federal, state, and native legislation enforcement companies to find, apprehend, and prosecute people who commit heroin associated offenses.
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