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United States of America v. Keled Ali
Case Number: 2:18-cr-00263-RSM
Judge: Ricardo S. Martinez
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Washington (King County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Todd Greenberg
Defendant's Attorney: Michael Craig Nance
Seattle, WA - Operator of Unlicensed Marijuana Distribution Business Sentenced to Prison for Maintaining a Drug Involved Premises and Possession of Oxycodone and Marijuana with Intent to Distribute
Possessed Firearm at Rainier Valley Business that was Focal Point of Gang Activity including Drive-By Shootings and Homicide
The 28-year-old operator of a Rainier Valley marijuana business was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for operating a drug involved premises, and possession of oxycodone and marijuana with intent to distribute. KELED ALI, of Seattle was arrested in October 2018, and pleaded guilty in January 2019. ATF and Seattle Police Department investigated drug activity and a gang related shootings near ‘One Stop,’ a marijuana distribution business in the 5300 block of Rainier Avenue South. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said, “When you run an illegal business you become a much larger target to people that want to take your drugs or your profits…. It attracts a criminal element to the community.”
“This defendant intentionally designed a business to undermine and thwart the State’s marijuana regulatory system – and because of that the business attracted violent crime and violent individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Even after the storefront was shut down, he persisted in selling not just marijuana but oxycodone – adding to the opioid epidemic. Federal law enforcement continues to target those who mix drug dealing and violence.”
According to records filed in the case, law enforcement became aware of gang activity related to the marijuana distribution business following a fatal shooting in December 2017 and a drive-by shooting in March 2018. ‘One Stop’ was not a licensed marijuana distributor under state or federal law. When undercover officers sought to investigate activities at the storefront, they were told marijuana could only be sold to customers introduced by other “members of their club.” On March 5, 2018, law enforcement executed a court authorized search warrant at the store. From a safe in the store officers recovered a 9 mm semi-automatic firearm, and they seized more than three pounds of marijuana from the store.
In October 2018, ALI was arrested after law enforcement observed him make numerous drug sales. In ALI’s car, law enforcement found more than two pounds of marijuana and 45 oxycodone pills packaged for resale.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Seattle Police Department.
Outcome: Maintaining a Drug Involved Premises - 21:856(a)(1) and (b)
(2) 15 months custody, 3 years supervised release with conditions set forth in judgment, fine waived, $200.00 special assessment
Possession of Marijuana and Oxycodone with Intent to Distribute - 21:841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), 841(b)(1)(D), and 18:2
(4) 15 months custody, 3 years supervised release with conditions set forth in judgment, fine waived, $200.00 special assessment