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Contraband
08/31/2011

13 arrested in international car theft ring

DETROIT - Nine suspects in Detroit and four suspects in San Diego have been arrested for their alleged role in a large scale car theft scheme – a scheme that transshipped stolen luxury sedans, SUVs and other vehicles to Iraq. These arrests are the result of an extensive two-year investigation, known as "Operation Hot Wheels," which was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In July 2009, HSI special agents developed information that identified an organized scheme to steal vehicles and transship them through Canada to Iraq.

The indictment alleges that certain members of the criminal organization, led by Adnan Hana, 57, of Sterling Heights, Mich., rented vehicles from national rental car chains in Michigan and Ohio. They then drove the vehicle into Canada, where police reports were filed claiming that the vehicles had been either carjacked or stolen in the Detroit-area.

The indictment further alleges that five of the vehicles were intercepted on shipping containers at the Port of Montreal by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). According to the indictment, export documents accompanying these vehicles stated that their export agent was Discount Auto Sales, a company owned by Adnan Hana.

"Criminal groups often believe they are employing ingenious techniques to further their illicit activity," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI in Detroit. "In a global law enforcement environment, however, HSI has the sophisticated tools and resources it needs to follow a lengthy paper trail to expose schemes such as this and bring those involved to justice."

"When people steal from American companies, we all suffer in the form of higher rates that get passed on to the consumer," said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, Eastern District of Michigan

The following individuals have been indicted on charges of transportation of stolen property in interstate and international commerce, along with related conspiracy charges:

  • Adnan Hana;
  • Jason Hana, 27, of Sterling Heights;
  • Heather Hana, 29, of Sterling Heights;
  • Danieal Korkis, 46, of Sterling Heights;
  • Nazar Quiryaqous, 46, of Sterling Heights; and
  • Sabah Hermiz, 57, of Sterling Heights.

Hermiz was arrested in California. All have been arrested, other than Korkis, who remains at large.

The following individuals have been charged in criminal complaints with transportation of stolen property in interstate and international commerce:

  • Wasem Aziz, 26, of Warren, Mich.;
  • Peter Barno, 28, of Sterling Heights;
  • Joey Youkhanna, 24, of Sterling Heights;
  • Nilton Asmar, 30, of Sterling Heights;
  • Ghanim Hanna, 59, of Sterling Heights;
  • Sala Hanna, 57, of El Cajon, Calif.; and
  • Samir Daly 48, of El Cajon.

Hanna and Daly were arrested in California and all are in custody.

Another individual, Ramzi Yousef, 58, of El Cajon, was charged in a criminal complaint with mail fraud for his role in the scheme. He has also been arrested.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Hurford.