Twelve Nashville Individuals Indicted on Opium Distribution Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 02, 2009|
NASHVILLE, TN—Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and Michael J. Stanfill, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, announced the indictment of 12 individuals living in Nashville on charges involving the distribution of opium.
On September 16, 2009, a federal grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, returned a sealed indictment charging 11 individuals—Reza Koushkbaghi, Farhad Shahbazi Matin, Vazgen Fakhoorian, Pejman Karshenas Najafabadi, Pedram Mohammadabadi, Farzaneh Sadkhosravi, Hassan Shams, Abdolreza Efrani, Mehran Gonyaei, and Hossein Mohammadabadi, and one other whose name has not been released—with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute opium, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Peyman Aboudzadeh Behmahani was charged in a separate indictment with distributing opium, in violation of Title 21, United Sates Code, Section 841(a)(1).
Reza Koushkbaghi is the alleged leader of the opium conspiracy. After a hearing last Friday, Magistrate Judge Juliet Griffin ordered him detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, pending the trial in this case. The remaining defendants were released on bond after making initial appearances.
United States Attorney Edward M. Yarbrough, “I congratulate the DEA and other law enforcement agencies on their tremendous work on this multi-faceted investigation. We are confident that this indictment will have an immediate and positive impact on a community in Nashville plagued by opium trafficking and addiction.”
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Heather Childs is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is presumed not guilty and is entitled to a jury trial at which the government would bear the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.