Friday became the first time in Pennsylvania that a hotel owner or general manager has been convicted of using a hotel for sex and drug trafficking, authorities in Monroe County said Wednesday.
A federal two-week trial involving more than 35 witnesses in Scranton ended with convictions against Faizal Bhimani, 43, Nazim Hassam, 64, both of Bartonsville, Om Sri Sai, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation, and the Pocono Plaza Inn in the 1200 block of West Main Street, Stroudsburg, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said, calling this “a precedent-setting case.”
Bhimani is general manager of the Howard Johnson in the 1700 block of North Ninth Street, Bartonsville. Hassam is vice president and part-owner of Om Sri Sai and a managing shareholder of Pocono Plaza Inn and Howard Johnson.
Through a six-year investigation starting in 2014, federal, county and local authorities found that Bhimani and Hassam made both hotels havens for drug-dealing and prostitution conducted by gangs and profited financially from these activities. Both men are among 40 defendants convicted as a result of the investigation.
Morning Call reporter Andrew Scott can be reached at 610-820-6508 or [email protected]
©2020 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
Visit The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) at www.mcall.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.