A US judge sentenced Ibrahim Akasha, once a member of Kenya’s Akasha drug trafficking organisation, to 23 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to trafficking heroin and methamphetamine and other crimes.
The sentence, imposed by US District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan federal court, was a victory for prosecutors, who argued Akasha was a top lieutenant to his brother Baktash Akasha, the Akasha organisation’s former leader, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison last August.
Assistant US Attorney Jason Richman on Friday urged Marrero to give Ibrahim Akasha a similar sentence, saying he acted as his brother’s “right hand man” and “engaged in extreme violence.”
Ibrahim Akasha’s attorney, Dawn Cardi, argued her client had a lesser role than his brother and sought a sentence of 10 years. She noted Ibrahim Akasha, now 31, was only 10 when his father died and his older brother took control of the organisation.
Cardi said there was “never a scintilla of evidence” the Akashas intended to traffic drugs into the US until authorities lured them with a sting operation.
Ibrahim Akasha professed remorse in court before he was sentenced and asked Marrero to show “mercy” so he could return to his three children.
“I would like to take the time to apologise to families destroyed due to my dealings in drugs,” he said.
Under Akasha’s plea deal, the sentence cannot be appealed.
“I thought the sentence was outrageous and totally unwarranted given the role this young man played in this case,” Cardi said after sentencing.
The Akasha brothers were arrested in Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2014 in a US-led sting operation, in which authorities said they provided 99 kg of heroin and two kilogrammes of methamphetamine to DEA informants posing as drug traffickers.
Tw men, Gulam Hussein, a Pakistani, and Vijaygiri Goswami, an Indian, were also arrested and charged with taking part in the scheme. Goswami co-operated with US authorities, court papers showed.
Both Akasha brothers pleaded guilty in October 2018.
A fifth defendant accused of working with the Akasha organisation, Muhammad Asif Hafeez, was arrested in London in August 2017. The United States requested his extradition.