News and Press Releases

Yemeni Pleads Guilty to Charges Relating to Piracy of Quest

July 7, 2011

Pirate Attack Resulted in Murder of Four U.S. Citizens

NORFOLK, Va. – Mounir Ali, a/k/a “Muner Ali,” 23, of Yemen, pled guilty today in Norfolk federal court to acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay and Robert Campbell Riggle. 

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.

            “Eleven Somali pirates have now pled guilty to the armed hijacking of a U.S. vessel in February off the East Africa coast,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Mounir Ali admitted today that his greed for ransom money ultimately led to the cold-blooded murder of the four U.S. hostages.  This latest guilty plea again shows that modern piracy is far different than the romantic portrayal in summer-time movies.  Pirates who attack on U.S. citizens on the high seas will face justice in a U.S. courtroom.”
“Today’s plea brings us one step closer to the resolution of the Quest’s hijacking and the brutal killing of four Americans.  Armed with RPGs and automatic weapons, Ali willingly participated in this premeditated attack to pirate the Quest, in a vain attempt for ransom.  From the shores of Tripoli to the coast of Somalia, piracy is no new issue for the United States. The FBI remains committed to apprehending those who threaten Americans and our interests,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk Assistant Director in Charge for the FBI’s New York Field Office.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Ali admitted that he and four other men from Yemen were crew members of a boat that was pirated by Somalis. When the Somali conspirators were in the process of capturing the American yacht, Ali willingly elected to join them in return for a share of the ransom money. Ali warranted in his plea agreement that he did not personally shoot any of the four Americans, nor did he instruct any other person to shoot the hostages.  

Sentencing for Ali is scheduled for October 21, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.

The investigation of the case is being conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The prosecution in the Eastern District of Virginia is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla and Brian J. Samuels, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on




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