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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 11, 2013

Drug Kingpin Convicted of Operating a Criminal Enterprise; Brings to Six the Total Number of Defendants Convicted

 

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Mohamed Taher, 34, of Lackawanna, N.Y., was convicted following a jury trial of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to import marijuana into the United States, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, false statements and aggravated identity theft. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 22 years in prison and a maximum of life.

            Defendants Abdulfatah Mosed, Salah Mohamed Ahmed, Basheer Saleh, Yasin Abdulla and Bradley Parry were previously convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and are awaiting sentencing.

            Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Lynch and Joel L. Violanti, who handled the trial, stated that between late 2005 and May of 2007, Taher operated a criminal enterprise that employed five or more individuals. The enterprise imported marijuana into the United States from Canada, and then distributed the marijuana to customers in Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo. In furtherance of the defendant’s enterprise, Taher utilized fraudulent identifications to enter into Canada to meet with his associates and his marijuana supplier. In doing so, Taher made false statements to Customs and Border Protection Officers when he claimed to be another individual when he was encountered at the U.S.-Canada border.

            “Today’s verdict, combined with previous convictions obtained in this case, remove the ring leader and members of a criminal enterprise and illegal drugs from the streets of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Because these defendants can no longer harm our neighborhood, today is truly a good day for the residents of this community.”

            Taher was convicted of the charges following a four week jury trial before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. Defendant Kaleel Albanna was acquitted of similar charges.

            The verdict is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero, Customs and Border Protection, under the direction James Engleman, Director of Field Operations, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the Michigan State Police and the Willoughby Hills, Ohio Police Department.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 24, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.