A 44-year-old West Valley City man, already under federal indictment on drug charges, is in trouble again after police say he tried to reopen a smoke shop in southern Utah.
Adel H. Al-Mukahel drew attention to himself by allegedly displaying adult pornography in the front window of the store, Hurricane police say.
Hurricane police spokeswoman Nancy Perkins said police were called Feb. 14 to Al-Mukahel’s new smoke/gift shop in a State Street strip mall after they started receiving complaints from people who had walked past the business.
When officers arrived, they could clearly see from the sidewalk a display case filled with boxes of pills. On the boxes were images of nude men and women engaged in sexual acts, Perkins said.
"Obviously, disturbing for a lot of folks," Perkins said, noting that the strip mall houses a number of other shops, including a Wendy’s, a furniture store and a flower shop.
Al-Mukahel was charged Wednesday in 5th District Court with indecent public display, a class A misdemeanor. His initial court appearance is set for March 26 before Jude Eric Ludlow.
Utah’s indecent public display law prohibits businesses from showing or selling items to minors that depict illicit sex or sexual immorality, or nude or partially nude figures.
In January, AL-Mukahel was charged in Hurricane’s justice court with operating the shop without a business license, a class B misdemeanor.
Al-Mukahel recently owned two smoke shops in northern Utah that were raided by the Davis County Metro Narcotics Strike Force and the DEA after authorities received a tip that spice was being sold at his Victor’s Smoke Shop in Kaysville.
Court documents filed in federal court allege the proceeds of the spice sales were being laundered through a known member of the Iraqi Mafia Gang.
Authorities estimate that in August 2012 alone, the two stores — the second was in South Jordan — sold more than $77,000 worth of spice and related merchandise, according to court documents.
Al-Mukahel has pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to four counts of conspiracy to distribute and possession of a controlled-substance analog and one count of money laundering.
He has not yet entered a plea on the new pornography charge.
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