CHICAGO (STMW) — Police arrested eight men and a woman who were allegedly operating a counterfeit apparel sales ring out of stores in Chicago and suburban areas, the Cook County Sheriff’s office announced Saturday.

Two of the men were charged with felonies and appeared in Cook County Criminal court Thursday. Seven others were charged with misdemeanors.

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The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Special Operations Unit began investigating the ring in early March, after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen. Over the course of several weeks, investigators conducted surveillance and undercover purchases, and determined the nine suspects — who were either related or friends — were engaged in illegal counterfeiting sales. Most of the apparel items sold in their stores bore the counterfeit trademarks of Nike, Timberland and Major League Baseball.

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On Thursday Ali Shaheen, 27, of the 10600 block of South Parkside Avenue in Chicago Ridge, was charged with three felony counts of counterfeiting and was ordered held on $30,000 bond and Said Aljuba, 30, of the 7000 block of West 100th Street in Chicago Ridge,was charged with two felony counts of counterfeiting and ordered held on a $20,000 bond, according to the release. Shaheen and Aljuba are scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on April 20th at Harrison & Kedzie, according to the release.

Those charged with misdemeanors were identified as: Samer Assad, 37, of the 4000 block of West Barry Avenue in Chicago, three misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting; Hazem Nasir, 48, of the 16000 block of Laurel Drive in Orland Park, two misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting; a woman named Iman Shahin, 26, of the 10600 block of South Parkside Avenue in Chicago Ridge, one misdemeanor count of counterfeiting; Muhamad Nakhlek, 19, of the 9200 block of South 50th Avenue in Oak Lawn, two misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting; Amer Alomari, 34, of the 5600 block of West Eastwood Avenue in Chicago, one misdemeanor count of counterfeiting; Jalal Zayed, 36, of the 10500 block of Major Avenue in Chicago Ridge, one misdemeanor count of counterfeiting and Mohammed Zaben, 33, of the 4300 block of West Belmont Avenue in Chicago, two misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting, according to the release.

On Apr 12th and 13th, detectives conducted a raid of the five businesses owned by the men at the following locations:

— Oak Park Tobacco & More, 6300 block of West North Avenue in Oak Park

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–State Street Discount, 7100 block of South State Street, Chicago

— North Avenue Discount, 5500 block of West North Avenue, Chicago

–Chicago Avenue Discount, 5600 block of West Chicago, Chicago

–Madison Discount Store, 5100 block of West Madison, Chicago

In total, investigators seized more than 4000 items including shoes, jackets, hats and shirts with an estimated value of $150,000.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)