Portland Men Sentenced for Crack Cocaine Trafficking
PORTLAND, ME—United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Hamadi Hassan, 32, of Portland, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Judge Nancy Torresen to 30 years in prison for leading a crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy. Hassan pleaded guilty on May 12, 2014. Judge Torresen also sentenced Hassan’s co-conspirator, Biniam Tsegai, 28, of Portland, to eight years for his role in the conspiracy. Tsegai pleaded guilty on May 15, 2014.
According to court records, between November 2010 and February 2012, the defendants were part of a drug trafficking conspiracy that acquired cocaine in Boston and distributed crack cocaine in the greater Portland area. Hassan was the leader of the conspiracy, took orders for crack cocaine from customers and co-conspirators, transported cocaine from Boston to Maine, and prepared, packaged and delivered crack cocaine to his customers and co-conspirators. Tsegai prepared crack cocaine for sale and distribution after it had been brought to Maine and he took orders for and delivered user-level quantities of crack cocaine to customers.
The defendants operated their drug trafficking ring out of hotels in the greater Portland area. They often carried firearms and held large sums of cash. They hid crack cocaine throughout the greater Portland area in milk containers or cigarette cartons left randomly on the sides of the roads, in bushes, under trees and in wooded areas. On May 16, 2011, police recovered over 20 grams of defendants’ crack cocaine inside a cigarette box located in the play area of a local day care facility.
Judge Torresen noted that Hassan’s lengthy criminal history, including three prior convictions for drug trafficking and violent crimes, and his violent nature warranted the lengthy sentence imposed on him. According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Hassan threw a female co-conspirator to the ground and broke her ribs by stomping on them because of an unpaid drug debt, choked a second female co-conspirator while promising to kill her if she cooperated with authorities, and forced a third female co-conspirator to sell narcotics from her hospital bed while she was admitted. Hassan was subject to an enhanced sentence as a career offender.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Portland Police Department, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Maine State Police and the Southern Maine Gang Task Force, which is comprised of agents and officers from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Portland and Biddeford Police Departments.