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In SDNY Rhino Horn Case Is Lost in Translation As Kampala Man Has Ailments

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 11– While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed, 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," had earlier in the day been arraigned in the Magistrates Court. But even an hour later, the case file or docket for 19-cr-338 said "This case is under seal."

Now on December 11 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. There was told of physical ailments. The case, for now, is a fiasco. It is US v. Kromah, 19-cr-338 (Woods).

   The 2019  announcement said, "Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, David Bernhardt, the United States Secretary of the Interior, and Christopher T. Tersigni, the Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today that MOAZU KROMAH, a/k/a “Ayoub,” a/k/a “Ayuba,” a/k/a “Kampala Man,” AMARA CHERIF, a/k/a “Bamba Issiaka,” MANSUR MOHAMED SURUR, a/k/a “Mansour,” and ABDI HUSSEIN AHMED, a/k/a “Abu Khadi,” were charged in an indictment for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both protected wildlife species, valued at more than $7 million that involved the illegal poaching of more than approximately 35 rhinoceros and more than approximately 100 elephants.  In addition, KROMAH, CHERIF, and SURUR were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and SURUR and AHMED were charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of heroin.  KROMAH, a citizen of Liberia, was arrested in Uganda on June 12, 2019, and expelled to the United States.  He was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker earlier today and detained.  CHERIF, a citizen of Guinea, was arrested in Senegal on June 7, 2019, and remains in custody in Senegal pending a process through which his extradition, deportation or other lawful removal to the United States is being considered by Senegalese authorities.  SURUR and AHMED, both citizens of Kenya, remain fugitives."

Update: that was then, and this is now: 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).


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