Los Angeles, CA – A federal jury returned guilty verdicts Thursday af…

Los Angeles, CA – A federal jury returned guilty verdicts Thursday
afternoon against a southern California area resident and a Chicago area
resident for their involvement in an organized crime ring familiarly
referred to by law enforcement as the “Untouchables.” Following a
10-day trial presided over by United States District Court Judge Robert
M. Takasugi, the jury found Mieko Choniece Jackson, of Alta Dena,
California, and Atiyeh Atiyensalem, of Homer Glen, Illinois, guilty on
all counts charged under indictment.

Jackson, 28, was found guilty on six counts of criminal charges,
including four counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to
commit money laundering, for her participation with a conspiracy to
distribute the controlled substance pseudoephedrine and aid and abet in
the unlawful distribution, manufacture, and sale of methamphetamine.
Atiyensalem, 51, was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit
money laundering for the purpose of concealing the source and nature of
proceeds as well as carrying-on of the illegal activity. Another
co-defendant, Hussein Ghacham, was acquitted of attempting to possess
narcotics.

In August 2004 a federal grand jury returned the indictment charging
Galeb Mizyed, 37, of Oak Lawn, Illinois, as the “organizer, leader,
manager, and supervisor” of a drug ring conspiracy along with 17 other
named defendants including Jackson and Atiyensalem. The indictment,
which superseded an earlier April 2003 indictment, detailed the
agreement, understanding, and acts involved with carrying out the
conspiracy. Beginning as early as March 1999 and continuing into at
least February 2003, Mizyed directed co-conspirators in the purchase,
transportation, storage, and distribution of large quantities of
pseudoephedrine obtained in Canada for the purpose of bringing into the
United States and using to manufacture methamphetamine for sale.
Pseudoephedrine was smuggled into the United States by way of vehicles,
such as U-Haul trucks and tractor trailers, and concealed in shipments
of bottled water under a Mississippi corporation established
specifically to facilitate importation of the drug.

Once the drugs arrived in US, Jackson and other defendants arranged with
Mizyed for transportation and storage of shipments at locations in
Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and Carson, California. On several dates in
2002 and 2003 Jackson made and received deposits of cash proceeds from
the illegal narcotics activities into her accounts at Washington Mutual
Bank. Jackson also sent money orders and wire transfers of illegal
proceeds to Mizyed. Jackson conducted these financial transactions in
furtherance of the overall conspiracy, more specifically, to attempt to
conceal the nature, source, and use of the funds as ill-gotten proceeds.
By her actions, Jackson assisted Mizyed and others with continuing the
operation of manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine.

Atiyensalem and two other co-defendants pooled their funds to purchase
large amounts of pseudoephedrine. In May 2002, Atiyensalem purchased
pseudoephedrine in Canada using $50,000 US currency which he transported
out of the country in a vehicle. Atiyensalem later, beginning in July
2002, received proceeds totaling approximately $200,000 from sale of the
drug in money orders.

Conspirators attempted to launder over $1 million of illegal narcotics
proceeds using various means including repayment of “investors” like
Atiyensalem; rent towards residences; purchases of new vehicles
including a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2003 Hummer, and 2003 Mercedes Benz
E500 (which was registered in Jackson’s name); as well as cellular
phones that were purchased to deliver to Mizyed.

Mizyed pleaded guilty to narcotics charges in Los Angeles federal court
during 2005. He is facing a statutory maximum of life in prison.

“By working together and joining unique areas of expertise, federal and
local law enforcement agencies systematically disrupt and effectively
dismantle organized crime operations to protect the citizens of the
United States,” stated prosecuting Assistant United States Attorney
Peter A. Hernandez. “This is clearly evident by the verdicts in this
case.”

“Whenever people seek out to distribute dangerous drugs for financial
gain,” added Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of the Los
Angeles Field Office, “IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents will
continue to participate in task-force operations with the DEA and other
agencies; to provide financial expertise and unravel money trails,
ultimately to prevent criminals from poisoning our society.”

Thursday’s verdicts concluded the major trials under “Operation
Untouchables,” a task-force investigation conducted by the Drug
Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation with
assistance from local enforcement agencies.

Judge Takasugi is scheduled to sentence both Jackson and Atiyensalem on
November 6, 2006. Atiyensalem faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in
prison. Jackson is facing the possibility of life in prison.

United States Attorney’s Office contact: AUSA Peter
A. Hernandez (213) 894-6681

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