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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Malian National Pleads Guilty In Brooklyn Federal Court To Conspiracy To Murder U.S. Diplomat

Earlier today, Alhassane Ould Mohamed, also known as “Cheibani,” a citizen of Mali, pled guilty at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, to conspiring to murder a United States diplomat stationed in Niamey, Niger, in December 2000. 

The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, in the early morning hours of December 23, 2000, the defendant and a co-conspirator accosted a group of employees of the United States Embassy in Niger as they left a restaurant in Niamey, Niger.  Carrying a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle, the two men approached Department of Defense official William Bultemeier as he was about to enter his car, a white sport-utility vehicle bearing diplomatic license plates clearly indicating that it belonged to the United States Embassy.  After demanding that Mr. Bultemeier turn over the keys to the diplomatic vehicle, the defendant and his co-conspirator shot Mr. Bultemeier and Staff Sergeant Christopher McNeely, the Marine Detachment Commander for the United States Embassy in Niger at the time, who had run to Mr. Bultemeier’s aid.  The defendant and his fellow assailant then drove away in the United States Embassy vehicle.

Mr. Bultemeier died of the injuries inflicted by the gunshot wounds.  Staff Sergeant McNeely survived the shooting, and later retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant.

Today’s plea took place before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II.  When sentenced on April 26, 2016, the defendant faces an agreed-upon term of 25 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad, Margaret Lee, and Melody Wells are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section. 

The Defendant:

Age:  46

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 13-527 (WFK)

National Security
Updated March 24, 2016