CHICAGO (CBS) – A south suburban man was arrested on federal firearm charges for allegedly trafficking more than 35 guns, including ghost guns, machine guns and rifles.
Arshad Zayed, 38, of Orland Hills, was charged with willfully dealing firearms without a license and illegally possessing and transferring a machine gun, according to a news release. He was arrested Wednesday morning and made an initial court appearance in federal court in Chicago.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the feds said there was more going on that just the special $10 deal at the Matteson Auto Spa, located on Cicero Avenue in south suburban Matteson. Zayed managed the car wash, and federal prosecutors said he used the business as a front to sell the firearms.
The guns – from handguns to long rifles and machine guns – were all shipped to the car wash and sold there, the feds said.
Read the criminal complaint against Zayed
According to court records, from August 2021 until just last week, the feds used a high-ranking gang member who had turned informant to record audio and video of the gun transactions. Zayed had no idea, the feds said.
A total of 36 weapons were sold on seven occasions, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said in one purchase, the informant – identified as “CS-2” – “arrived at and entered the Matteson Auto Spa … Zayed directed CS-2 to a room within the car wash that appeared to be Zayed’s workshop, wherein Zayed showed the two AR-15-style rifles.”
During the meetings with the informant, records show Zayed then asked, “Okay are you taking these now?” to which CS-2 indicated that he was. Zayed replied, “OK let me clean them all up,” prosecutors said.
Images from the secret recordings allegedly show Zayed in gloves cleaning the weapons.
The feds say, “Zayed is seen on video placing the firearms in a large box and can be observed removing a shipping label from the box, stating, ‘I just don’t want my name on it. You never know bro.'”
But images supplied by prosecutors indicated that Zayed did not remove every label – as one showed his name and the carwash address.
Court records showed several of the weapons were ghost guns – they had no serial numbers and could not be traced.
And this was a big business with thousands of dollars made with each transaction. In March, after six successful purchases using FBI-tracked money, the feds said the informant was observed counting approximately $12,000 in cash in front of Zayed … asked how he would receive the firearms and Zayed responded, ‘It’s in a brown box.”
Minutes later, the feds say images show Zayed coming out of the business with the box.
He was caught on audio saying: “Everything in the picture is in that box” and saying the box contains “six big ones [rifles] five little ones [handguns].”
A total of 12 weapons, ammunitions, and silencers were in the box, prosecutors said.
The City of Matteson said they had no idea about the charges the car wash manager faces. They were also looking over the 65-page criminal complaint to see if they could legally pull the license for the car wash.
Terry is told the owner of the car wash claims he did not know what the manager was up to.
The unlawful possession and transfer charge is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. The unlawful dealing charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Zayed is scheduled for a hearing on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Jantz.
The charges were announced by officials from the U.S. Attorney’s for the Northern District of Illinois, the FBI Chicago Field Office, the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Chicago Police Department, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.