CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FBI is asking for information that could lead to the arrests of two men formerly of Northeast Ohio, one of whom was indicted in a scheme to smuggle weapons to Lebanon from Cleveland. The second man was indicted on charges relating to income tax evasion.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the two men are believed to be currently living in Lebanon.
George Nakhle Ajaltouni, 47, formerly of North Olmsted; Jean Youssef Issa, 48, of Batroun, Lebanon; and Nakhle “Mike” Nader, 51, formerly of Cleveland are named in the indictments.
Issa is in custody.
Ajaltouni and Issa are charged for their roles in a scheme to smuggle and illegally ship firearms from Cleveland to Lebanon. Nader is charged in a separate indictment with income tax evasion.
The indictments, originally filed between 2016 and 2019, describe separate schemes, one involving Ajaltouni and Issa, one involving Ajaltouni alone and the other solely concerning Nader. While the schemes are separate, it’s believed that Ajaltouni and Nader are two acquaintances and that they currently live in Batroun.
It’s alleged that from May 2011 to September 2014, Ajaltouni and Issa conspired together to smuggle hundreds of firearms from Cleveland to be resold in Lebanon. As part of the conspiracy, it’s alleged that Ajaltouni purchased firearms from federal firearms dealers and private sellers throughout NE Ohio and elsewhere.
The indictment states Ajaltouni frequently attended gun shows and paid cash to purchase firearms from exhibitors.
It’s also alleged that in order to ship the weapons, Ajaltouni purchased used automobiles from other individuals. They were then used to store and conceal firearms inside the doors and body panels of the vehicles. The vehicles were shipped to Lebanon, where the firearms were retrieved and resold, the release states.
Ajaltouni is also charged in a separate indictment with naturalization fraud after obtaining naturalization and citizenship in 2009 that he was not entitled to nor eligible to receive.
Nader is charged with four counts of income tax evasion related to various businesses he owned and operated in Cuyahoga County. It’s alleged that from 2012 to 2015, he owned and managed the daily operations of three liquor stores in Cuyahoga County. He’s accused of withholding information from his tax preparer regarding sources of additional income, debt forgiveness and using business money to pay personal expenses.
Nader also allegedly used cash or funds from his business accounts to pay for personal expenses.
The FBI asks anyone with information about the whereabouts of Ajaltouni and Nader to contact the FBI Tip Line at 1-800-225-5324.