US Charges Iranian Drug Trafficker Connected to Tehran Intelligence in Alleged Assassination Plot with Canadian Hells Angel

NEW YORK, US – The United States has charged an alleged Iranian drug trafficker, along with a Canadian Hells Angel and another Canadian man, in connection with an alleged plot to carry out assassinations in the country. The US Justice Department and Treasury announced on Monday that Naji Sharifi Zindashti, the suspected drug smuggler, ran an assassination ring on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (Mois).

The indictment states that Zindashti, 49, and an unnamed co-conspirator in Iran were in contact with Damion Ryan, 43, a member of the outlaw Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Canada, using an encrypted communication platform called SkyECC. In their conversations in December 2020 and early 2021, Zindashti asked Ryan to assemble a team to carry out the murder of an Iranian defector and a female companion living in Maryland.

Ryan indicated that he might know someone capable of the job, and he reached out to another Canadian, Adam Pearson, who claimed to have trustworthy individuals willing to carry out the assassination. Pearson even suggested that shooting the victims in the head multiple times would be the most effective method. Eventually, Zindashti informed Ryan that his organization was ready to proceed with the plot, and they agreed on a fee of $350,000, plus $20,000 for travel expenses.

Currently, both Ryan and Pearson are imprisoned in Canada on unrelated charges. The US Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s national security division, Matthew Olsen, sent a clear warning to those planning murders on US soil and their criminal collaborators in Iran, stating that the US would pursue them relentlessly and deliver justice.

The US and UK governments jointly announced measures against Zindashti’s network, which they claim has been involved in numerous acts of transnational repression, including assassinations and kidnappings across multiple jurisdictions, all with the aim of silencing the Iranian regime’s perceived critics.

This is not the first time that accusations of Iranian-Hells Angels collaboration have emerged. In late 2022, German police implicated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in a series of attacks on synagogues, allegedly carried out through a German-Iranian biker gang boss named Ramin Yektaparast. Yektaparast had sought refuge in Tehran after being implicated in a murder case known as the “Rocker-Torso Murder”.

In the past, US officials have also charged suspects in other alleged plots linked to Iran, including an attempted assassination of an Iranian-American journalist in New York City and a failed plot to assassinate John Bolton, the former national security adviser of the Trump administration.

The charges against Zindashti and his associates highlight the ongoing tensions between the US and Iran, as well as the lengths to which intelligence agencies and criminal groups may allegedly go to carry out their objectives. The joint actions undertaken by the US and UK governments demonstrate their commitment to combating transnational threats and ensuring the safety of their citizens.

(Note: The rewritten article aims to convey the key information and maintain accuracy, while adhering to AP News Style guidelines and avoiding any signs of plagiarism.)