Somali Pirates Convicted for Attack of the USS Ashland
NORFOLK, Va. – Mohamed Ali Said, a/k/a Maxamad Cali Saciid; Mohamed Abdi Jama, a/k/a Mohammed Abdi Jamah; Abdicasiis Cabaase, a/k/a Ahmed Mahomood; Abdirazaq Abshir Osman, a/k/a Abdirasaq Abshir; and Mohamed Farah, a/k/a Mohamed Farraah Hassan, were found guilty by a federal jury of engaging in piracy and committing other offenses pertaining to the attack on the Navy ship, the USS Ashland.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, made the announcement after the verdicts were accepted by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.
The five men are scheduled to be sentenced on July 1st and July 2nd, 2013. The maximum sentence for the convictions are as follows: Conspiracy to commit hostage taking carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; Conspiracy to commit kidnapping, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; Conspiracy to perform act of violence against persons on a vessel carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; Conspiracy involving firearm and a crime of violence carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; Piracy under the Law of Nations carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; Attack to plunder vessel carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; Assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; Act of violence against persons on a vessel carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and Use/Possession of firearm during crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison if convicted of one count. A second or subsequent conviction adds an additional 25 years, making the prison term a minimum mandatory 35 years.
“These men were pirates – plain and simple,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “They attacked a ship hoping to hold it ransom for millions of dollars. Few crimes are older than piracy on the high seas, and today’s verdict shows that the United States takes it very seriously.”
Assistant Director Venizelos said, “These defendants are headed where they belong: to federal prison. Let this send a clear message of deterrence to anyone who threatens those who traverse the high seas. I commend U.S. Attorney MacBride and the U.S. Navy for their diligence in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”
Said, Jama, Cabaase, Osman, and Farah were charged in a second superseding indictment that was filed on August 8, 2012. According to court records and evidence at trial, they attacked the USS Ashland on April 10, 2010, and three of the defendants, Mohamed Ali Said, Mohamed Abdi Jama and Abdicasiis Cabaase, had previously gone to sea in February 2010 for purposes of capturing another vessel but were instead intercepted by the HMS Chatham of the Royal Navy.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch and Joseph DePadilla, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Jerome Teresinski of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice.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 http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.