Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In SDNY Rhino Case Cherif Served 57 Months Now Asks Judge for His Phone For Deportation

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTROOM Exclusive, May 17 – Back on June 13, 2019 SDNY then-US Attorney Geoffrey L. Berman announced the indictment of four citizens of African nations for trafficking in rhino horn, elephant ivory and heroin into New York and that one of them, a Liberian named "Kampala Man," or really Moazu Kromah had earlier in the day been arraigned in the Magistrates Court. Inner City Press was there. 

On December 11, 2019 assigned U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods held a proceeding in the case, or tried to. The interpreter was not doing simultaneous or even complete interpretation. Judge Woods reminded him this was necessary, as he translated the defendants request to know the name of the judge.

On November 1, a co-defendant was in court for a status conference and remains detained: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Gregory H. Woods: Status Conference as to Abdi Hussein Ahmed held on 11/1/2022. Defendant Abdi Hussein Ahmed (3) (in custody) present with attorney... Swahili Interpreter Masuma Chagani present. Initial conference held. The Court schedules a status conference for December 16, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Time is excluded in the interests of justice from November 1, 2022 until December 16, 2022. Detention continued."

On November 15, 2022 co-defendant Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh was brought into court by two US Marshals. Inner City Press was there. He pled guilty, to Count 5, the heroin count. Sentencing was set for February 28, 2023 at 10 am.

On February 6, 2023, Abdi Hussein Ahmed was brought in by Marshals to plead guilty. Inner City Press was the only person in the courtroom gallery. These were again some interpretation issues, but it emerged that the US will support a "safety valve" application to go under the 10 year mandatory minimum, with a stipulated guideline sentence of 57 to 71 months. Sentencing will be on May 11 (defense counsel said he has three other Federal sentencings on May 10) at 10 am.

On April 26, Abdi Hussein Ahmed's CJA counsel wrote in to ask for time served. He said his client once owned and operated the Bashier Hotel in Kiambu in Kenyaa where his reputation has been ruined.

On May 4, the US Attorney's Office wrote in and said Abdi Hussein Ahmed should get 57 months - and that "the sentence should run from August 1, 2022 when the defendant was arrested in Kenya and detained pending his extradition to the US." On May 11, "Abdi Hussein Ahmed (4). THE DEFENDANT: pleaded guilty to counts1 and 5 of the S1 Superseding Indictment. All underlying Counts are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: 48 months for each of Count 1 and Count 5, to run concurrently. SUPERVISED RELEASE: 3 years. ASSESSMENT: $200.00. Special instructions regarding the payment of criminal monetary penalties: The special assessment in the amount of $200.00 shall be paid immediately. The defendant shall forfeit the defendant's interest in the following property to the United States: a. One black rhinoceros horn received by the USFWS on or about March 16, 2018, which is currently in the custody of the USFWS; and b. Two white rhinoceros horns received by the USFWS on or about July 17, 2018." Abdi  Hussein Ahmed

On April 24, 2023, "JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh (5). The defendant pleaded guilty to Count 5 of the S1 Superseding Indictment. IMPRISONMENT: 42 months. The court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: Note that the defendant was arrested on a federal warrant on May 30, 2022 prior to his extradition for this offense. The defendant is remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal. SUPERVISED RELEASE: No term of supervised release (guidance of Section 5D1.1 (c)). ASSESSMENT: $100.00 due immediately. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 4/24/2023)." Watch this site.

On October 24, 2022, the US Attorney's Office wrote in seeking to finalize forfeiture by Kromah of "One Black Rhinoceros Horn received by the USFWS on March 16, 2018" and "two White Rhinoceros Horns received by USFWS on July 17, 2018."

On October 26, Judge Woods ruled that the US Marshals should take the horns: "FINAL ORDER OF FORFEITURE [205] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from AUSA Sagar K. Ravi dated October 24, 2022 re: Final Order of Forfeiture. NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT All right, title and interest in the Specific Property is hereby forfeited and vested in the United States of America, and shall be disposed of according to law. Pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(n)(7), the United States of America shall and is hereby deemed to have clear title to the Specific Property. The United States Marshals Service (or its designee) shall take possession of the Specific Property and dispose of the same according to law, in accordance with Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(h) (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 10/26/22)." Watch this site.

On October 17, co-defendant Mansur Mohamed SururSurur got 53 months: "Sentencing held on 10/17/2022 for Mansur Mohamed Surur (3) Count 1s,5s. Defendant Mansur Mohamed Surur (3) (in custody) present with attorneys Alain Vernauid Messena and James Bell. AUSA Sagar K. Ravi present. Arabic Interpreter Emna Zghal present. Court Reporter Paula Horovitz present. Sentencing hearing held. The defendant is sentenced to 54 months of imprisonment for each of Counts 1 and 5, to be served concurrently. A special assessment fee of $200.00 is due immediately. Detention continued."

On December 13, Amara Cherif was up for sentencing and Inner City Press went to it. Cherif spoke of his 11 children; the AUSA acknowledged what is the docket about a son of Cherif's being kidnapped, and emphasized that Cherif did not cooperate. Judge Woods imposed a sentence of 57 months and no supervised release, as it will be followed by deportation (which Cherif says he is awaiting, wanting to get back to his children).

Docketed on May 17, 2024, Cherif said he has served his time and is now awaiting deportation in the ICE detention center at Moshannon Valley Processing Center, 555 GEO Drive, Philipsburg PA 16866 - he wants his cell phone back.

Back on Sunday, October 9, 2022 counsel for co-defendant Amara Cherif wrote to Judge Woods in the run up to sentencing set for October 12 that "I received a correspondence from Mr. Cherif that his 7 year old son was kidnapped in Africa as a direct result of his upcoming sentencing in this case. Mr. Cherif further advised that the kidnappers said, '[they] will harm his son if he continues to assist the American.'" An adjournment has been requested, and agents abroad have been alerted. Watch this site.

On August 18, 2022 when Kromah was up for sentencing. Inner City Press was there. Kromah was in prison beige, with his ankles chains. He told Judge Woods he does not want to be returned to Liberia or Uganda. He said he has been in prison for 42 months.

The Assistant US Attorney Sagar K. Ravi said while it might be an important day for Kromah, it was also an important day for the Government and the world. He cited 10 tons of elephant tusks and 190 kilograms of rhino horn; he emphasized that after Kromah may or may not have served four months in Ugandan prison he returned to the wildlife trade, resulting in the deaths of 35 rhinos and 100 elephants.

 The interpreter was heard by the courtroom during Kromah's statement, but not the Government's argument for 63 months. And that was the sentence imposed. So, 63 minus the 42 served is 21 months - then deportation.

While some NGOs says, not without reason, that 63 (or 21) months is not enough for 100 elephants, UK Prince William, perhaps to distract from other scandals, issued a statement praising the sentence, picking without comment much less courtroom presence by Vanity Fair, here: "Today’s sentencing demonstrates both what is possible when a coordinated international response is brought to bear against the illegal wildlife trade, and why it is essential... This is a significant victory and a landmark case,” he said. “For over a decade, its complexity has been skilfully met by a global alliance of international law enforcement agencies, governments, NGOs and private sector organizations, including a number of brilliant United for Wildlife partners."

On October 4, this docket entry from co-defendant Surur: "LETTER by Mansur Mohamed Surur addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods dated 9/28/22 re: Letter to the Court - I humbly plead to Your Honor to please give me an opportunity and allow me soon to be reunited with my loved ones back in Kenya."

 Inner City Press will continue to follow the cases.

On June 1, 2022, co-defendant Surur was brought into Judge Woods' courtroom to plead guilty. Inner City Press was there and live tweeted, including Surur's questioning why his cooperation with the government was not mentioned (his lawyer said it was just proffers and will be raised at sentencing, with a 70 to 87 month guideline). Thread:

In rhino horn trafficking criminal case, now Surur is pleading guilty. Inner City Press, the only media here in the courtroom

Surur: My lawyer told me 70 months...

Judge: But you understand you could get life?

Surur: (Pause) Yeah, OK.  Surur: My cooperation with the government, it's not in here. Defense lawyer: There were proffers but no cooperation agreement. We'll bring it up at sentencing.

Surur: I facilitated between buyer and seller of blsck rhino and two white rhino horns. I wasn't the seller. Also, a kilo of heroin.

AUSA: Also the Endangered Species Act, and laws of #Kenya and #Uganda.  Surur: I didn't do this in 2012. It was 2017. Guilty.

 Judge: Sentencing Sept 14, 10 am. Adjourned.

 Afterward, a press release that did not mention the proffers, nor what Surur said: "MANSUR MOHAMED SURUR, a/k/a “Mansour,” a Kenyan citizen, pled guilty to conspiring to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both endangered wildlife species, which involved the illegal poaching of more than approximately 35 rhinoceros and more than 100 elephants.  SURUR also pled guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin to a buyer located in the United States.  Two of SURUR’s co-defendants, MOAZU KROMAH, a/k/a “Ayoub,” a/k/a “Ayuba,” a/k/a “Kampala Man,” a citizen of Liberia, and AMARA CHERIF, a/k/a “Bamba Issiaka,” a citizen of Guinea, previously pled guilty on March 30, 2022, and April 27, 2022, respectively to conspiring to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, as well as substantive charges of trafficking in rhinoceros horns.  The remaining defendants, BADRU ABDUL AZIZ SALEH, a/k/a “Badro,” and ABDI HUSSEIN AHMED, a/k/a “Abu Khadi,” are both citizens of Kenya.  SALEH is in custody in Kenya based on a U.S. extradition request, and AHMED remains a fugitive."

Saleh appeared before Judge Wood on June 24, 2022: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Gregory H. Woods: Status Conference as to Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh held on 6/24/2022. Defendant Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh (5) (in custody) present. Swahili Interpreter Masuma Chagani present. Status conference held. The next status conference is scheduled for September 1, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Time is excluded in the interests of justice from June 24, 2022 until September 1, 2022. Detention Continued."

Back on March 30, 2022, Kromah appeared in Judge Woods courtroom. Inner City Press was there. As part of the change of plea script, Judge Woods asked Kromah of his employment history.

 Kromah said he was born in Liberia and sold shoes and used clothes there until the civil war. Then he moved to Guinea. His CJA counsel urged him to keep it simpler. He did, and pled guilty. Sentencing is set for June 29, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. See also,  Greenwire's E&E News of April 5, 2022, April 5, 2022, "Alleged Rhino Horn Smuggler Pleads Guilty After Years in Jail," by Michael Doyle, "The guilty plea was first reported by New York City's Inner City Press and took place without the fanfare that accompanied the June 2019 announcement of the original indictment naming Kromah and three other defendants."

The case is US v. Kromah, 19-cr-338 (Woods).
It is US v. Kromah, 19-cr-338 (Woods).

  In connection with Judge Woods' hearing Inner City Press was contacted and told that Surur has been ordered extradited. We added it with h/t, below. Now on January 25, it's confirmed: "Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MANSUR MOHAMED SURUR, a/k/a “Mansour,” a Kenyan citizen, was extradited from Kenya and arrived in the United States this morning.  SURUR was arrested by Kenyan authorities on July 29, 2020, in Mombasa, Kenya, on charges of conspiracy to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both endangered wildlife species, which involved the illegal poaching of more than approximately 35 rhinoceros and more than 100 elephants.  In addition, SURUR was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of heroin.  SURUR’s co-defendant, Moazu Kromah, a/k/a “Ayoub,” a/k/a “Ayuba,” a/k/a “Kampala Man,” a citizen of Liberia, was previously deported to the United States from Uganda on June 13, 2019.  Co-defendant Amara Cherif, a/k/a “Bamba Issiaka,” a citizen of Guinea, was extradited to the United States from Senegal on April 3, 2020.  Co-defendant Abdi Hussein Ahmed, a/k/a “Abu Khadi,” a citizen of Kenya, remains a fugitive.  SURUR is expected to be arraigned later today before U.S.  Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods. "

Inner City Press first reported: Surur is facing, and trying to fight, extradition, h/t

The case is US v. Kromah, 19-cr-338 (Woods). US v. Kromah, 19-cr-338 (Woods).


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.


Feedback: Editorial [at]

Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2019 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for