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Press Release

Seattle man who distributed thousands of fentanyl pills in Whatcom County sentenced to six years in prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant overdosed on fentanyl at Ferndale mini mart, but ten days later was back dealing again

Seattle – A 33-year-old Seattle man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six years in prison for distributing fentanyl and illegally possessing firearms, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Ahbdurman Ahmed was one of six people indicted in April 2023 for a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in Whatcom County. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, it was critical that he protect the public. Judge Jones told Ahmed, “I can’t imagine how you would feel if someone sold fentanyl to your children.”

“This defendant sold thousands of fentanyl pills in Whatcom County, pills that nearly killed him in an overdose,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Even after that brush with death, he continued to sell – putting others at risk. Drug suppliers must be held accountable for their conduct, whether driven by addiction or by greed – in this case it appears it was both.”

“DEA, along with our Federal, state, local, and tribal partners, works tirelessly to safeguard our communities by holding people like Mr. Ahmed accountable for distributing death in the form of fentanyl,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “We will go to any lengths to take armed traffickers off the streets and create a safe environment for Whatcom County and Lummi Nation residents, as we showed in this case.”

Fentanyl pills seized from defendant.

According to court records, law enforcement officers observed various drug transactions and interdicted the drug loads. On December 30, 2022, law enforcement was called to a mini mart where Ahmed and another person had overdosed on fentanyl and had to be revived and transported to the hospital. Nevertheless, ten days later Ahmed was seen trafficking fentanyl pills once again. In mid-January 2023, law enforcement seized bags containing 1,000 pills from two of Ahmed’s customers. In March of 2023, law enforcement seized a total of 3,000 fentanyl pills from Ahmed. Ahmed was armed at the time of the second seizure -- a Glock handgun with an extended magazine was found with him in the car he was driving. He is prohibited from possessing firearms due to prior criminal convictions.

Gun with extended magazine

“The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office is committed and will continue locating dangerous drug traffickers that are poisoning our communities with potentially deadly substances,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Donnell Tanksley. “Losing one community member to an overdose, fatal or otherwise, is one community member too many – we are all family. We will also continue to work with our community partners to guide those affected by addiction to needed resources.”

The other defendants in this case are:

  • Robel Sisay Gebremedhin A/K/A Robel Sisay Gebremedhui, 41, of Burien, WA is charged with: possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm; and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Mohamed Abdirisak Mohamed, 35, of Seattle, WA is charged with: possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a firearm; and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Trial is scheduled for March 2024.
  • Matthew Anderson, 35, of Bellingham, WA is also charged with: two counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute. His trial is scheduled for March 2024.
  • Daniel John Faix, 41, of Bellingham, WA pleaded guilty yesterday to Possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of firearms, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 29, 2024.
  • Natasha Parkhill, 38, of Bellingham, WA was arraigned on the indictment for possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute in November 2023 and remains detained pending trial.

In asking for a seven-year prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs wrote to the court, “Ahmed was involved in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in Whatcom County. Many of these drugs ended up being distributed on the Lummi Indian reservation, a community hard hit by the fentanyl pandemic. The Court is certainly aware of the dangers that these drugs – particularly fentanyl – pose to those who use them. Ahmed himself, as a drug user who has overdosed on fentanyl, was obviously aware of the risk of death or injury this drug presents. Ultimately, Ahmed – for whatever reason – was willing to personally profit from the distribution of an addictive and often deadly controlled substance.”

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at .

This investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Whatcom County Drug and Gang Task Force, with valuable assistance provided by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, and the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated January 5, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses