Bail denied again for 3 downtown drug ring suspects
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Three suspects in the recent downtown drug raid that closed eight nightclubs will remain in jail, Federal Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday.
Steve Yassine, Edgar Orsini and Nizar Hakiki were in court for a hearing related to drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons charges.
Sparks kept all three men in jail primarily because he considers them flight risks.
In courtroom testimony prosecutors told the judge that Edgar Orsini is a Mexican national who has family in that country; Nino Hakiki, a Moraccan native, has traveled extensively in the East; and Steve Yassine is of Lebanese decent, with family ties in the Ivory Coast of West Africa.
Yassine's attorney failed to convince the judge to set bail for his client. He said very little regarding other details of the case.
"I'm going to have to do some more work on it guys, that's all I can say,” he said.
Federal prosecutor Gregg Soffer would not comment on camera. In court, he reminded the judge that the allegations of cocaine trafficking and weapons charges are strong enough to keep Hakiki, Orsini and Yassine locked up.
The youngest Yassine brother, 35-year-old Hadi Yassine, is free on a $25,000 cash bond.
"You guys have done a good job of dragging our names through the mud," Yassine said outside the courtroom Tuesday.
When asked if the allegations against him and his family are true Hadi said, “Well, we’re going to court for that.”
Prosecutors told the judge that Steve Yassine has not filed taxes since 2002, and the judge said he would reconsider setting a bond at a future time if his attorney could show financial records.
Judge Sparks told attorneys, "I don't know if he has $10 or $10 million buried in his backyard."
The judge also said Steve Yassine lived like a “king” in the same neighborhood where Sparks himself resides.