11 detained in local sting, multi-agency raid charged in U.S. District Court

Defendants face money laundering, drug charges

SAN DIEGO - Eleven defendants -- nine men and two women -- were arraigned in U.S. District Court Thursday on charges ranging from money laundering to cocaine distribution.

The charges stem from simultaneous raids executed by multiple law enforcement agencies Wednesday at the Autohaus San Diego luxury car dealership and the homes of the owner, Amir Bahador. The home of Bahador's son, Roman was also raided.

Roman Bahador wholesales cars through another business, European Collections, authorities ssaid.

Many boxes of evidence were confiscated during the searches in Grantville and Del Cerro. The raids involved the FBI, IRS, U.S. Border Patrol, DEA and local law enforcement.    

Amir and Roman Bahador and four others were charged with money laundering. They are accused of knowingly selling a Mercedes vehicle to people bragging that they were drug dealers. 10News learned an undercover sting that led to their arrests.

Charles Goldberg, who represents Roman Bahador, said, "Yes, he's upset. The issue is whether he knew the source of the money that he got for the car that was sold was illegal … If it came from illegal activity and [two] whether by doing it he intended to help that person further activity, and he says absolutely not."

"He's been a businessman in the community for many years, I believe with a good reputation," said Jeremy Warren, who is representing Amir Bahador.

Autohaus San Diego has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, and Amir Bahador filed for bankruptcy three years ago, citing more than $6 million in liabilities.    

The five charged with possession for sale of five kilos of cocaine include Roman Bahador's brother, Brenton.

Prison terms would range from 10 to 20 years.

All defendants are being held without bail, with a bail hearing scheduled for next Tuesday.

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