Feds Raid Sixth Street Bars
Indictment against club boss includes money laundering, drugs
By Richard Whittaker, 5:18PM, Thu. Mar. 22, 2012
One of Austin's biggest club owners faces federal indictment today after law enforcement raided four downtown venues. The FBI alleges that Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine, his brothers Hadi and Mohammed, and assistant Marissa Marthe Ruales laundered over $200,000 "believed to be the proceeds of narcotics trafficking" through several businesses.
In a massive early morning operation, coordinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Austin Police Department, multiple agents raided Yassine's Sixth Street venue Treasure Island, followed by raids on other venues run by Yassine Entertainment, including Kiss & Fly, Pure and Fuel.
Hussein Ali Yassine (40, Austin) Three counts, money laundering; Conspiracy to launder
Hadi Ali Yassine (35, Austin) Two counts, money laundering; Conspiracy to launder
Mohammed Ali "Steve Austin" Yassine (38, Austin) Money laundering; Two counts, distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine; Two counts, conspiracy to distribute; Transferring a gun (22 mm pistol) to be used in relation to a drug trafficking offense
Marisse Marthe Ruales (33, Austin) Four counts, money laundering; Conspiracy to launder
Nizar "Nino" Hakiki (32, Austin) Distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine; Conspiracy to distribute; Transferring a gun (9mm pistol) to be used in relation to a drug trafficking offense
Karim Faiq (29, Manor) Distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine; Conspiracy to distribute
Amar Thabet Araf (29, Austin) Distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine; Conspiracy to distribute
Sami Derder (38, Pflugerville) Distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine; Conspiracy to distribute
Edgar Orsini (40, Cedar Creek) Distribution of cocaine; Conspiracy to distribute
Alejandro "Cueta" Melendrez (42, Austin) Two counts, distribution of cocaine
All 10 suspects will appear before Texas Western District Judge Dennis Green in Austin at 10am on March 27.
Yassine's business has spearheaded the bottle service scene in Austin, and runs several of the warehouse district's more gay-friendly businesses. In addition to Treasure Island, it also runs Pure Ultra Lounge, Spill on Sixth and Malaia World Lounge on East Sixth, Fuel on Trinity, Roial on West Fifth, Hyde (formerly Qua) and Stack Burger Bar on West Fourth, and Kiss & Fly on Colorado. However, he has had a complicated relationship with some parts of the LGBT community over how gay-friendly some of his gay bars truly are. He is also faces an ongoing class action lawsuit, filed by several ex-employees, claiming that Yessine's business violated Federal minimum wage requirements by not paying tipped employees.
However, another inevitable question will be the fallout for the always divisive politics of the downtown club scene. With conceivably eight bars and a restaurant caught up in this, expect some serious discussion of events amongst the various Downtown committees, business alliances and residents groups.