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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pound Of Cocaine Gets Birmingham Man 10-Year Federal Prison Sentence

TUSCALOOSA -- A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a Birmingham man to 10 years in prison for possessing and intending to distribute about a pound of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler varied upward from federal guidelines in sentencing BINIAM ASGHEDOM, 40, an Eritrean national, for the possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The judge found that Asghedom had played a significant role in a larger conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin in the Birmingham metro area.

Judge Coogler also ordered Asghedom to serve 30 years of supervised release after completing his prison term, but indicated that Asghedom would be deported to Eritrea.

A federal jury convicted Asghedom, following a two-day trial in March, for possessing and intending to distribute the pound of cocaine.

According to evidence at trial, Birmingham police stopped Asghedom for a traffic violation on Dec. 1, 2010, after federal agents had followed him from a known drug location. Asghedom was one of a number of targets of a larger DEA investigation. After obtaining Asghedom’s consent, officers searched the 2000 GMC Sierra pick-up truck he was driving and found the cocaine and $14,500. Forensic testing later revealed that the outside packaging of the cocaine had two latent fingerprints that matched Asghedom's.

The DEA investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Dimler prosecuted.

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Updated March 19, 2015