Follow-up Thurs. 3.29.12 OK, now add “murder” to the previous.
On the day he disappeared in September 2000, 36-year-old Paresh Patel was last seen visiting three downtown nightclubs he co-owned with Hussein “Mike” Yassine and his brother.
That evening, Patel’s empty Lexus SUV was found with the keys in the ignition in a parking lot off Airport Boulevard. He has not been seen since.
On Wednesday, a day after investigators laid out federal drug and money laundering charges facing Yassine and nine of his associates, Austin police officials confirmed that he is a person of interest in Patel’s disappearance.
“The investigation revealed that Patel had a disagreement with business partners shortly before his disappearance,” officials said.
Read the rest here.
Follow-up Weds. 3.28.12: Now it’s Night club kingpins, Dope, guns, money laundering AND Terrorism (allegedly).
Below is a clip from when the suspects appeared in federal court here in Austin, with statements from the elder Yassine, who says his boys are innocent, “they’re all very good boys,” and a statement from one of the attorneys. Stephen Orr, a well known Austin criminal attorney, is representing one of the siblings, too.
From this morning’s Statesman:
Officials linked one suspect to the Texas Syndicate prison gang. They also said thousands of dollars were transferred to a Yassine relative in Lebanon who is reportedly connected to the militant group Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
See today’s Statesman for the rest of the story.
An Austin nightclub kingpin has been busted in huge FBI raid that nets guns, dope, money, etc., right after SXSW. This is a wild one for the River City. According to the Austin Statesman, Ali “Mike” Yassine was arrested, along with his brothers Hadi Ali Yassine and Mohammed Ali Yassine, plus seven others. I have to confess that I’ve never set foot in any of Yassine’s clubs. They’re not the kind of places I hang out.
It’s a case for Martin Fender, blues bassist and part-time detective. My rock n’ roll crime novel, Rock Critic Murders (first of a series of 3, first published in 1989), now available for your iPad, with lots of great music, Skunks video, commentaries from Austin music writers, and other stuff. This was the FIRST Austin rock n’ roll crime novel, also the FIRST detective series set in Austin. Check it out at iTunes now, only $3.99. Less than a shot of vodka at Fuel, bro.
One more plug, before we get back to the dope bust. A word from Joe Nick Patoski, author of Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, great authority on music, the underworld, and whitewater, who says: “The world needs Martin Fender, because…” BTW, this clip is in the iPad edition of Rock Critic Murders.
"Jesse Sublett, Martin Fender, the world needs you, because the music biz is dirty, dirty, dirty…"
Back to the dope, money, rock n’ roll, etc. Ali Yassine apparently owned these clubs:
■ Fuel, 607 Trinity St.
■ Hyde, 213 W. Fourth St.
■ Kiss & Fly, 404 Colorado St.
■ Malaia, 300 E. Sixth St.
■ Pure, 419 E. Sixth St.
■ Roial, 120 W. Fifth St.
■ Spill, 212 E. Sixth St.
■ Stack Burger Bar, 208 W. Fourth St.
■ Treasure Island, 413 E. Sixth St.
From the Statesman article:
Figures from this January, the most recent numbers available from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, show Pure paid $8,586.90 in mixed-beverage taxes, ranking it among the city’s most-patronized bars.
[T]he three Yassine brothers [and their assistant, Marisse Marthe Ruales] are each charged with money laundering, court documents show.
“Authorities believe that they used several business establishments located in downtown Austin to launder over $200,000 in cash, which they believed to be the proceeds of narcotics trafficking,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
Read the full story in the Statesman here.
Read more about the Martin Fender novels and my other books here.
Read my true crime essay about the Austin underworld of the 1960s, the Overton Gang, and my long labors at researching and writing a book about it in the Texas Observer here.