News and Press Releases

SEATTLE CONVENIENCE STORE OWNER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ILLEGAL SALES OF PSEUDOEPHEDRINE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2005

SAMER KARAWI, 36, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced to 12 years in prison today by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik for unlawful Distribution of Pseudoephedrine – a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine. KARAWI was convicted by a federal court jury in June 2005. Prosecutors presented evidence that KARAWI sold cases of pseudoephedrine to a confidential source working for the Drug Enforcement Administration, knowing the pseudoephedrine was to be used to manufacture methamphetamine. In sentencing KARAWI to the lengthy sentence, Chief Judge Robert S. Lasnik observed that it was one of the longer drug sentences he has handed down, but said, "Methamphetamine is a drug which destroys lives and is a scourge on our community."

According to court filings, KARAWI owned and operated the Top Hat Grocery in Seattle. In the Spring of 2002, KARAWI sold a DEA confidential source multiple cases of pseudoephedrine, each containing thousands of pills. During some of these sales, KARAWI was recorded on tape telling undercover DEA agents that he had other "regular customers" who he supplied with pseudoephedrine.

In asking the court for a lengthy sentence Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi wrote in his sentencing memorandum, "a long sentence will hopefully deter other shopkeepers and retailers who may be similarly tempted to try and make easy money selling pseudoephedrine on the black market."

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi, Ye-Ting Woo and Todd Greenberg.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at (206)553-4110.

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