1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[austin] nightclub owner, associates to drug deals, militant Islamic group,

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by tinman, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 1999
    Messages:
    77,679
    Likes Received:
    26,515
    No more rooftop fun at Roial

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local...drug-deals-2265889.html?viewAsSinglePage=true

    Drug deals. Weapons purchases. Ties to a prison gang and a militant Islamic group and even a potential link to an unsolved homicide.

    That was the list of allegations federal officials laid out against an Austin nightclub owner and nine of his associates in a dramatic hearing Tuesday.

    Arrested last week on money laundering and drug charges, Yassine Enterprises owner Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine, his brother, Mohammed Ali "Steve" Yassine, and eight others appeared in federal court and heard more details about the cases against them.

    Mike Yassine, who owns eight Austin nightclubs, and the other suspects in the case face a variety of charges. Some are accused of cocaine distribution, purchases of guns to be used during drug deals and money laundering dating back to 2007.

    Officials linked one suspect to the Texas Syndicate prison gang. They also said thousands of dollars were transferred to a Yassine relative in Lebanon who is reportedly connected to the militant group Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

    Prosecutors for the first time also revealed that Mike Yassine is a "person of interest" in a case being investigated by the Austin Police Department's homicide cold case unit. Austin police declined to provide additional details Tuesday, including the name of the alleged victim.

    Mike Yassine might have also threatened witnesses, officials said, and is being investigated as part of a sexual assault case.

    Judge Dennis Green denied bail for Mike Yassine and Steve Yassine. Bail for four others — including a third Yassine brother, Hadi Ali Yassine — ranged from $10,000 to $25,000. Bail rulings for the other suspects will be made at a later date, officials said.

    Outside the courtroom on Tuesday, their father, Ali Yassine, said his sons are not guilty of the charges against them. "My boys ... everybody's innocent," he said. "They're very good boys."

    Also charged in the case are Marisse Marthe "Madi" Ruales, Karim Faiq, Alejandro "Cueta" Melendrez, Edgar Orsini, Nizar "Nino" Hakiki, Amar Thabet Araf and Sami Derder, all Central Texas residents who authorities say have various levels of involvement with the purported crimes.

    During raids on the suspects' homes and businesses last week, investigators said they seized more than 400 boxes of evidence.

    They also report finding $200,000 in cash in a safe at the Yassine Enterprises offices on West Fourth Street, as well as cashier's checks totaling $45,000 made out to a member of the Yassine family in Lebanon. That man is associated with Hezbollah, IRS agent James Neff testified.

    The searches also turned up a bogus University of Texas diploma with Mike Yassine's name, prosecutors said.

    The American-Statesman has learned that businesses linked to Mike Yassine currently owe almost $600,000 in state sales and mixed-beverage taxes. His bank accounts have been frozen by the state comptroller's office, his attorney said in court.

    Yassine Enterprises, owns eight Austin bars: Pure, Spill, Kiss & Fly, Treasure Island, Hyde, Fuel, Malaia and Roial.
    They've remained closed since last week's arrests and, officials said, will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission obtained a court order that blocks all eight nightclubs from selling or serving alcohol.

    Mike Yassine is also part owner of Stack Burger Bar, which is still open for business. Its liquor license remains intact, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

    Randel Gillette, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, testified Tuesday that an informant who worked for the FBI became involved with the Yassines and their associates in 2007.

    Investigators testified that Mike Yassine told the informant, who posed as a drug dealer — and whose accounts have driven much of the case — that he wanted to launder $200,000 to $1 million in narcotics money through his clubs. The informant's name was not released.

    Initially, Mike Yassine and Steve Yassine cut the informant checks from Yassine Enterprises for the drugs, but Mike Yassine later wanted the informant to pose as a cleaning service instead to appear more legitimate, investigators said.

    The government's evidence against the suspects, Gillette said, includes numerous recorded conversations, videos and surveillance of Steve Yassine and the informant arranging drug transactions, gun purchases and various other illegal activities.

    "Steve was very interested in gaining profit from the drug trade," Gillette said. "He seemed very eager to get involved with that."

    Steve Yassine first bought 30 grams of marijuana from the informant in late 2007, Gillette said.

    The two also tried to buy cocaine from Orsini, a proposition that made the informant nervous because he did not know the man, Gillette said. He said the informant claimed he would disappear if anything went wrong during the deal.

    "Steve responded, ‘If that happens, I'll make (Orsini) disappear,' " Gillette said.

    Steve Yassine, a legal permanent U.S. resident originally from Lebanon, has not filed a tax return in four years, Gillette said. His income came from doing work for his brother Mike Yassine. He also falsified loan documents on which he said he was a citizen, Gillette said.

    Steve Yassine's defense attorney Stephen Orr questioned the charges, saying his client was led on by the FBI informant.

    "Every single act he is accused of was initiated by your source," Orr said.

    He also asked why his client was not arrested sooner.

    "If he's such a dangerous criminal, why not get him off the streets in 2008?" Orr said.

    Attorneys for several other defendants, including Mike Yassine, made similar arguments, but Gillette said making the arrests earlier would have jeopardized the investigation.

    Neff, the IRS agent, testified that middle brother Hadi Yassine was present during conversations between the informant and his brothers. Hadi Yassine was starting a beverage company called Famous Vodka for which Mike Yassine gave him $100,000 in drug money, Neff said. Hadi Yassine is not a U.S. citizen, Neff said.
     
  2. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    23,296
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    Ship their asses out of this country and send em to jail.
     
  3. Thefabman

    Thefabman Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,885
    Likes Received:
    1,349
    as pops would say...that's yo ass mr. postman.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Messages:
    18,830
    Likes Received:
    1,921
    Oh wow. I met one of these guys at SXSW last week.

    Anyways, I thought it was fairly common knowledge that a lot of the night club business is involved in illegal activities such as the drug trade. Night club operation in itself is highly unprofitable and a lot of these night clubs are fronts to launder money back to themselves without drawing suspicion.

    If you recall, there was a story about two brothers who owned nightclubs in Houston who got busted a few years ago for pushing ecstasy.
     
  5. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    23,296
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    ^^
    Doing work with Hezbollah ain't common though, hope they drop the soap in prison.
     
  6. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 1999
    Messages:
    77,679
    Likes Received:
    26,515
    if you aren't familiar with Austin, these places are super popular clubs. it was good idea that they waited after sxsw to bust them.
     
  7. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2000
    Messages:
    16,682
    Likes Received:
    2,992
    Keep Austin Weird
     
  8. coolweather

    coolweather Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    58
    Austin? any link to the Bush's?
     
  9. RocketMan Tex

    RocketMan Tex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 1999
    Messages:
    18,452
    Likes Received:
    114
    Damn...back in my day the club owner getting in trouble was Clifford Antone for selling weed to 99.9% of the musicians in Austin. My how times have changed.......:grin:
     
  10. Xerobull

    Xerobull Salve Dicit Mater Tua
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Messages:
    21,738
    Likes Received:
    13,476
  11. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    18,243
    Likes Received:
    4,845
    In the Clifford Antone tradition.
     
  12. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    48,452
    Likes Received:
    34,102
    We need more evidence.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. trueroxfan

    trueroxfan Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,170
    Likes Received:
    143
    Popular, racist bars. I went to Pure a few years ago with 4 black guys. I was the only one allowed in. Everyone else was denied entry because of their clothes, according to the bouncer. However, I don't dress nice, and they were.

    Not surprised about Malaia. I went there once, they have like a burlesque show or something, no one was in there, in fact every time I walked by I never saw too many people in there.

    I don't really go to 6th anymore. If I did, I'd be glad it was these bars that got the ax and not Blind Pig, Shakespeare's, The Library, or The Aquarium. Also glad it wasn't my Lebanese cousins bars that were involved in this haha.
     
  14. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Messages:
    24,243
    Likes Received:
    6,175
    May he rest in peace.
     
  15. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    31,713
    Likes Received:
    6,314
    Porno.
     
  16. seclusion

    seclusion rip chadwick
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Messages:
    7,258
    Likes Received:
    1,302
    Just curious on this -- so you went in without the people you came with?
     
  17. RocketMan Tex

    RocketMan Tex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 1999
    Messages:
    18,452
    Likes Received:
    114
    Indeed
     
  18. CCorn

    CCorn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    16,988
    Likes Received:
    11,708
    Some guy we had fixing our fax machine Friday kept talking about this. He said that the investigations started because they weren't giving the employees their pay checks.
     
  19. Baqui99

    Baqui99 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2000
    Messages:
    11,490
    Likes Received:
    1,209
    The funny thing is that everyone in town has known these guys have been washing money through their clubs for many years. I guarantee you none of these bars have ever turned a profit. Hell Treasure Island sells $0.25 wells!

    I've had some great times at Spill over the years. Used to get a handshake entry there. There was a time where you'd go there and take a bunch of shots, hit the dance floor/stage and be making out with a mediocre looking girl within minutes.
     
  20. Yak

    Yak Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    49
    As a UT student, downtown hasn't been the same since the drug bust.

    Pure, Spill, Roial, Malaia, and Treasure Island are all super popular and hotspots for anyone going to 6th.

    I guess the owner of Blind Pig and Trophy Club are happy since everyone is going to be flocking to them even more now.

    Sad times.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now