Saudi Arrested For Shaking Down Spokane Family

SPOKANE – A Saudi man with dual citizenship in the United States has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and impersonating a federal officer.

Marwan Nassar, 27, was arrested last weekend by law enforcement officers in Asotin County after authorities say he attempted to extort a local family that owns a successful Spokane Valley restaurant called Tacos Tumbras and several taco trucks.

Authorities say that on August 20, 2007 Nassar pulled over 20-year-old Benjamin Zuniga and told him he was under arrest and that he was going to be deported. Nassar drove Zuniga to his family’s taco stand on East Sprague, showing Benjamin a small semi-automatic handgun in his car’s glove box as he drove.

Once they arrived at the taco stand Nassar told Benjamin’s parents, Carlos and Susana Zuniga to say goodbye to their son because he was being deported back to Mexico.

Nassar, according to court documents, convinced the family that he was an FBI agent and shook them down, saying their son Benjamin was subject to deportation out of the country. Through coersion and manipulation he forced the Zuniga family to give him approximately $35,000 in cash and property in exchange for helping them attain US citizenship.

A convicted felon with a record of burglary and firearms charges in Washington and California, Nassar was transferred to the Spokane County Jail Wednesday and made his first appearance in Spokane Superior Court on Thursday on charges of 1st Degree Kidnapping and 2nd Degree Impersonation of a Federal Officer.

Bond was set at $750,000.