Man convicted of terrorism is sentenced for selling methamphetamine

An Orange County man was sentenced Monday to more than 15 years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine to an undercover FBI employee while on probation following a 2009 terrorism conviction. .

Ahmed Binyamin Alasiri, 45, of Garden Grove was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney as well as a two-year sentence for violating the conditions of his supervised release, according to the US Attorney’s Office. for the Central District of California. Both sentences will be executed simultaneously.

Alasiri pleaded guilty in October to one count of methamphetamine distribution, prosecutors said, the most recent case in a criminal history that stretches back more than three decades.

According to a sentencing note filed March 14, Alasiri sold 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine to an undercover FBI employee three times about a year after his release from prison on terrorism charges.

In 2007, Alasiri, known at the time as Kevin Lamar James, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to wage war against the United States government by terrorism, according to a criminal complaint. for the methamphetamine case, which was filed Aug. 20. , 2020.

“Alasiri admitted to conspiring with others to engage in violence against the governments of the United States and Israel by attacking targets in Southern California associated with the United States military and the Jewish religion,” indicates the complaint.

His co-conspirators robbed gas stations to raise funds for Alasari’s planned attacks on US military operations and Israeli and Jewish facilities in Southern California, prosecutors said.

In 2009, Carney sentenced Alasiri to 16 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to the complaint. US Bureau of Prisons records showed he served the last five years in the “supermax” federal prison in Florence, Colorado, which held prisoners such as unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and Boston Marathon suicide bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Alasiri was released to a halfway house in Garden Grove in 2019 to serve his three years on probation, and he “immediately began breaking the rules, which ultimately resulted in court-ordered enhanced probation conditions. “, according to the memo.

On November 7, 2019, the Orange County Superior Court granted his motion to officially change his name to Ahmed Binyamin Alasiri, the lawsuit says.

On July 24, 2020, Alasiri sold the undercover buyer 430 grams of methamphetamine for $3,700, prosecutors said. The second sale, in which he sold the buyer 435 grams of methamphetamine for $3,700, was on August 6 of that year.

The third sale took place on August 20, prosecutors said. Alasiri sold the buyer 877 grams of methamphetamine for $7,400.

Alasiri “was industrious and obtained legitimate full-time employment, but he did not shy away from dealing drugs to earn income,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.

He admitted in his plea agreement that he first brought up the subject of selling drugs, and he said he had family members who were drug dealers and he sold drugs to clients, prosecutors said.

“I have ties to every drug you can imagine,” he said, according to the memo.

Alasiri was raised by a single mother on Hoover Street in South Los Angeles, the birthplace of the Hoover Crips, according to the memo, and joined the gang at age 11 after being attacked at school by a member of a rival gang who assumed “he was already a vacuum cleaner.

“It appears that gang membership in his neighborhood was essential to his survival,” the memo reads.

Alasiri was repeatedly arrested and detained as a minor, and prosecutors highlighted the circumstances of his childhood in their sentencing memo.

“A review of the defendant’s personal history reveals a life lived in extremes: extreme childhood circumstances, extreme criminal and violent conduct, and extreme efforts to succeed when not in custody,” they said. writing.

They argued that a sentence below the federal guidelines range would be appropriate.

Los Angeles Times

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