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Originally published August 1, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Page modified August 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

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Crack dealer who took photos with officials gets 7 1/2 years

The ploy of a convicted crack dealer who sought to win a reduced sentence using photos of himself posing with city and county officials — including the mayor, police chief and city attorney — bombed. The judge sentenced him to 7½ years.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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A convicted crack dealer who tried to win a reduced sentence, in part, by submitting photos of himself posing with a slew of city and county officials — including the mayor, police chief and city attorney — was sentenced Friday to 7½ years in prison.

The judge did not specifically address the photographs submitted by Ali Abukar Mohamed, 30, while meting out his prison term, but instead spoke to his crimes.

King County Superior Court Judge Regina Cahan told Mohamed in a courtroom packed with his supporters that it was commendable that he’d been active in his community.

But, she said, “you are also a convicted drug dealer, and your community needs to acknowledge that.”

Mohamed was charged with five counts of selling crack cocaine out of his shop at Rainier Avenue South and South Mead Street over a one-year period between 2012 and 2013.

The first-time offender was offered a plea deal that would have netted him a sentence of 30 to 90 days in work release, but he turned it down and went to trial.

Last month, he was convicted of four counts of violating the uniform controlled-substances act by a King County jury, which also found that three of the sales occurred within a block of an elementary school.

Because each school-zone enhancement carries a mandatory 24-month sentence, the judge said she had no choice but to sentence Mohamed to at least 72 months.

He was additionally sentenced to a little over two years on four counts of violating the controlled-substances act.

A supporter of Mohamed, Bill Anderson, said his friend was genuinely shocked to receive a prison term.

In a memorandum filed with the court before the hearing on Friday, Mohamed asked the court to impose a sentence well below the standard range.

In support of the request, he submitted nine reference letters from the leaders of local charities and community organizations, and the names and signatures of more than 200 supporters.

He also included more than a dozen photos taken of him with Seattle city officials, county officials, police officers and members of the community, including Mayor Ed Murray, newPolice Chief Kathleen O’Toole, City Attorney Pete Holmes and King County Councilmember Larry Gossett.

Most, if not all, of the pictures were taken since his conviction, according to Deputy Prosecutor Charles Sherer, who also read statements from Gossett and one of the officers photographed who objected to the use of their images in Mohamed’s court documents.

“To say they were not pleased is an understatement,” Sherer said.

Mohamed’s attorney, Howard Phillips, said Friday that the pictures “were not submitted cynically” and were merely intended to show “what an asset he has been to the community.”

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com



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