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home : news : local   May 3, 2016

9/27/2013 5:22:00 AM
Peru smoke shop owner sees bond reduced


Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



OTTAWA — The owner of Peru Smoke Shop won’t need to post six figures to bond out of jail for felony drug charges — and he won’t need an English-Arabic interpreter, either.
Abdel J. Rahman, 45, of 17415 Tamar Lane, Tinley Park entered a not-guilty plea Thursday during his arraignment on drug charges stemming from a Sept. 10 raid of his business in downtown Peru.
Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. then set a Dec. 2 trial date for Rahman, who could face up to 7 years in prison if convicted of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, both for synthetic cannabis. He will next appear Nov. 21.
Prosecutors allege Rahman delivered an unspecified quantity of XLR-11 (sold as “Extreme Kush”) to an undercover officer on Sept. 3 and that additional quantities were seized when Peru police raided the smoke shop on Sept. 10.
Thursday, Rahman had a surprise in store for the judge.
Before Rahman could enter his plea Thursday, Ottawa defense attorney Ed Kuleck advised Ryan that Rahman can, in fact, speak English and does not require a court interpreter.
Kuleck explained that Rahman was “scared” during his Sept. 11 bond hearing and it was only nerves, and not a deficiency with English, that kept him from fully comprehending the proceedings, which led Ryan to send for an Arabic interpreter.
After confirming this fact both with Rahman and the Arabic interpreter who appeared Thursday, Ryan released the interpreter.
Kuleck also won a small concession from Ryan, getting the judge to reduce Rahman’s $1 million bond by 25 percent.
Though Rahman is a native of Kuwait, Kuleck argued, he is a naturalized U.S. citizen with ties of more than 20 years to Illinois, where he owns a home and business and has numerous family members. Additionally, Rahman had no significant criminal history.
Kuleck noted the contraband seized is not a “dangerous” drug a la cocaine or heroin — synthetic cannabis produces euphoric effects similar to cannabis — and raised the possibility of a defense predicated on Rahman not knowing what the contraband was.
In response, assistant La Salle County state’s attorney Laura Hall urged Ryan to keep the bond at $1 million, noting the drugs posed a danger to society and that Rahman’s charges were allegedly perpetrated on separate dates.
Ryan declined Kuleck’s request to cut the bond by at least half, but did cut the figure to $750,000.
Rahman now needs to post $75,000 in cash to be released from La Salle County Jail. Ryan indicated he had some concerns about Rahman’s potential ties to Kuwait and a resulting risk of flight.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.








Related Stories:
• Peru: Shutting down smoke shops unconstitutional





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