A pair of Minnesota men are facing money laundering charges in connection with their weekend arrests on the Jane Addams Tollway near Elgin, according to court records and the Kane County sheriff's office.
Zuhair Abudaya, 45, and Ibrahim Aqel, 45, both of Shoreview, also were found Saturday with a van full of chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco that lacked necessary tax stamps, said Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Pat Gengler.
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The felony charges, which allege they laundered $78,000, are punishable anywhere from probation to seven years in prison if they are convicted.
Gengler said a deputy pulled the pair over at about 10 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 90 near Route 31 because of an obstructed rear license plate on their van.
The deputy saw numerous open boxes of chewing and smoking tobacco in the van and the stories of the two men did not match, he said.
The driver, Abudaya, of the 500 block of Elaine Avenue, said they were headed to help a friend move, but Aqel, of the 600 block of Cedar View Court, said they were looking for tobacco store displays in Chicago, Gengler said.
Authorities say the deputy obtained permission to search the van and found: 1,570 containers of chewing tobacco; 27 packages of smoking tobacco; 85 boxes of cigars; four large boxes of chewing tobacco; and $78,000
"None of those had the appropriate tax stamps," Gengler said. "It would be indicative of black market sales."
The money was "packaged in a matter consistent with illicit currency trafficking and contraband smuggling," he added.
Authorities seized the tobacco and cash and towed the van, Gengler said.
Both Aqel and Abudaya posted 10 percent of their $200,000 bails on Sunday and were released. They are both due in court on Friday.