Alleged leader of sex ring pleads not guilty; faces life in prison

41 COUNTS: Inclusion of three minors could lead to a life sentence.

The alleged ringleader of a three-year sex-trafficking operation in Anchorage pleaded not guilty this morning to charges that could send him to federal prison for the rest of his life.

Sabil Mumin Mujahid, 52, already in jail on a federal conviction in June as a three-time felon in possession of a Smith & Wesson .44 magnum handgun, was ordered held without bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith.

Two other defendants in the sex-trafficking case, Sidney Lamar Greene, 30, and Rand Hooks, 50, pleaded not guilty Friday. Police and FBI are searching for the fourth person in the alleged conspiracy, 21-year-old Keyana “Koko” Marshall.

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged the four in a 41-count indictment with conspiring to run a prostitution ring that used at least three under aged girls and 17 women, with additional women who remain unidentified. They operated under escort services named “Northern Exposures” and “Seductions.”

Mujahid and Greene were also charged with possessing child pornography, tax fraud and identity theft.

During his arraignment, Mujahid asked Smith to appoint an attorney, saying he was too broke to afford one. Smith briefly ordered the courtroom emptied of prosecutors and spectators so she could question Mujahid in private, then resumed the public session by announcing that Federal Public Defender Richard Curtner would represent Mujahid, as he did in the weapons case.

Mujahid has not yet been sentenced on the weapons conviction and is challenging the verdict, arguing that his federal jury was too white to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the area.

“Mr. Mujahid asked for a mistrial on the basis that he was being denied his constitutional right to a trial by an impartial jury venire that represented a cross-section of the community,” Curtner wrote in a memorandum to the judge who heard the weapons case. “That motion was based on Mr. Mujahid’s belief that of the 60 prospective jurors called to hear his case only one was African-American.”

Curtner said after today’s hearing that if the sex-trafficking case goes to trial before a jury, he might raise the objection again if the jury pool isn’t adequately diverse. Mujahid is African-American.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cooper said the four most serious charges faced by Mujahid, involving sex trafficking of minors, carry maximum terms of life in prison. Several of the charges also have mandatory minimum sentences of 10 to 20 years.

Mujahid is named in all but six counts of the indictment.

Smith ruled that because some of his alleged victims were minors, the law required him held without bond unless he could show why he should be an exception. In a conversational voice, the bespectacled Mujahid, in his bright yellow prison jumpsuit and pink undershirt, asked that bond be set at $1 million.

After just having ruled that he was too broke to afford an attorney, Smith asked him if he could make that kind of bond.

“I maybe got some friends who could do that,” he said.

Smith put off the matter for a future hearing.

source: http://www.adn.com/front/story/1065115.html

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Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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