A federal jury in Alexandria yesterday convicted two accused drug dealers of charges related to the importation from Iran and attempted sale of high-grade heroin with an estimated street value of more than $32 million.
The jury found Shahrokh Bakhtiar, 37, 2001 Somerset St., Hyattsville, guilty of all 14 counts against him. The charges included conspiracy, racketeering and illegal use of a hand gun.
Mohammad Roshan, 34, owner of the West End Restaurant in the District of Columbia, was convicted of one count of distributing half a pound of heroin. Roshan, who lives at 5500 Friendship Blvd. in Chevy Chase, was acquitted of four additional counts.
Federal Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. permited Roshan to remain free on $200,000 bond. Bakhtiar has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 6, in lieu of $500,000 bond. Bryan set sentencing for May 2. Bakhtiar faces a maximum of 152 years in prison and a $310,000 fine. Roshan faces a possible 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Charles Work, Roshan's attorney, said his client's conviction on the single count will be appealed. Bakhtiar's lawyer, Louis Koutoulakos, said that he would consider appealing.
The Iranian backgrounds of the defendants was a theme running through the trial, which started Tuesday. Bryan asked prospective jurors on the opening day if they could impartially decide the fate of the men, in view of the "political situation" in Iran.Bakhtiar is a naturalized American citizen with a valid immigration permit. One prospective juror was dismissed when he said he could not be impartial.
During closing arguments yesterday, Koutoulakos warned the jurors that if they convicted the men because they were born in Iran, the jurors would not be able to look at themselves in the mirror on Friday.
Both defendants were charged with conspiracy to import and distribute heroin between Oct. 3, 1979, and Feb. 6 of this year. Arrangements for the purchase of the narcotic were made at expensive restaurants throughout Northern Virginia and the District, according to the government's key witness, Kenneth C. Feldman, an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
Feldman told the two he was "Kenny Mora", an organized crime figure from New York who wanted to deal in major purchases of pure heroin, according to Feldman's testimony.
Bakhtiar agreed to obtain the heroin from Iran, where he claimed family ties would enable him to operate despite the current turmoil there, Feldman testified. Bakhtiar is a son and cousin of former top officials under the deposed shah.
In closing agruments, Koutoulakos claimed Feldman had entrapped Bakhtiar by offering him $5 million in exchange for six pounds of heroin. Koutoulakos told the jury of eight women and four men that Bakhtiar would not have been involved except for the money Feldman "dangled in front of him." The defense lawyer urged the jury to send his client "home to his wife and little boy."
Attorney Charles Work argued that the government's case against Roshan was circumstantial, and offered explanations for events at which undercover agents had seen Roshan and Bakhtiar together.
The jury acquitted Roshan of four drug-related counts, apparently accepting those explanations. They found Roshan guilty of being in a small apartment, at 2115 Pennsylvania Ave., with Bakhtiar when he was cutting up and packaging half a pound of heroin. Roshan had testified that he was smoking opium only a few feet away and did not notice the activities of his close friend.
A third man indicted in the case, Reza Mianegaz, 37, 8339 Garfield Court, Springfield, pleaded guilty to two counts of racketeering and is awaiting sentencing.