Utah "Spice" sales linked to Iraqi mafia group

By Brent Hunsaker

Published 11/27 2012 04:12PM

Updated 11/27 2012 06:13PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – It’s a story ABC 4 has been following for months. Illegal synthetic marijuana, or "spice" is being sold in smoke shops and convenience stores across the state.

On Tuesday, ABC 4 News uncovered new information.

During our investigation,  ABC 4 tracked down a possible connection between an Iraqi mafia group and smoke shops before confronting those involved.

An affidavit filed in United States District Court documents the details of the arrest of Adel Al-Mukahel for selling spice in his smoke shops.

A DEA special agent submitted the affidavit for the purpose of seeking a search warrant for Al-Mukahel's home in West Valley City, Victor's Smoke Shop in Kaysville, and VIP Smoke and Hookah in South Jordan.

So, was he selling spice?

An ABC 4 News Producer and Photographer went to his house to find out and saw Al-Mukahel driving away.

But, they didn't stop there. After catching up with the Black SUV, Al-Mukahel denied selling illegal spice.

“Everything we sold is legal. It comes with papers. The police; they know,” said Adel Al-Mukahel.

Statements in the affidavit allege Al-Mukahel was also involved with a man known as a high ranking member of an Iraqi Mafia gang.

His name?

Maithan Al-Fatwali.

It stated that Al-Fatwali would come to the store to pick up cash withdrawals and that Al-Fatwali is heavily involved in money laundering for the gang.

“Your saying that you have no ties, you don't know anybody with the Iraqi mafia?” asked the ABC 4 News Producer. “No, are you crazy?” answered Al-Mukahel.

“He's crazy,” yelled Al-Mukahel’s wife from the passenger seat of the SUV.

“What are you talking about?” continued the wife. “That is just a stupid question that's what she's saying,” said Al-Mukahel while trying to explain his wife’s statement.

“Stupid yes stupid, you are stupid,” continued his wife.

ABC 4 News wasn’t satisfied with their answer, so we asked again.

“Leave us alone,” said Al-Mukahel’s wife.

“Are you his wife?” said the ABC 4 News Producer.

“Yes she's my wife and you guys push me so bad and then, What Iraqi Mafia? What are you talking about mafia?” said Adel Al-Mukahel.

Al-Mukahel then ended the interview by saying his lawyer would call ABC 4 News.

“I’m sorry I cannot say anything,” said Al-Mukahel.

And then he drove away.

ABC 4 News contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office about Al-Mukahel's case but they were unable to give us a comment, saying it was still an ongoing investigation.

No federal charges have been filed against Al-Mukahel.

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