Feds Move to Seize Pigeon Hill House Used for Illegal Exports

by Chris Wangler

June 12, 2020

Federal prosecutors have filed a civil forfeiture claim against a home in one of Waltham’s wealthiest neighborhoods, claiming it was used by a Waltham couple to smuggle goods out of the United States and to supply services to Syria.

The now-overgrown home at 10 Juniper Hill Road is owned by Anni Ajaka (aka Anni Beurklian) and her husband Antoine “Tony” Ajaka.

She is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Lebanon and he is a lawful permanent resident from Lebanon, according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) release.

The couple operated Top Tech US Inc. out of their Waltham home.

Starting in 2014, “the couple used the home to procure goods, including electronics, computer equipment and electrical switches from U.S. companies and exported those goods to various countries, including Lebanon, Egypt and China, in violation of U.S. law.”

The Ajakas were indicted on multiple federal charges in 2018, including smuggling, falsifying records and obstruction of justice. During plea negotiations, they fled and are now believed to be in Syria or Lebanon.

The DOJ said the Ajakas worked with a Syrian-based company, Electronic Katranji Trading (EKT), during the illegal scheme.

EKT’s Syrian owners “were involved in activities related to the acquisition, attempted acquisition, and/or development of improvised explosive devices, which were being used against U.S. and Coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The company’s U.S.-based website has already been seized by ICE – Homeland Security “on probable cause that it was used to facilitate the illegal export of merchandise from the United States.”

U.S. law allows the government to seize and forfeit assets that are used to illegally export merchandise from the country.

In July 2018, the Ajakas and EKT company officials were designated as Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The designation and related sanctions were “based upon evidence that EKT was involved in the development of chemical weapons used by the Syrian Government,” said the DOJ.