WILLMAR — Ahmed Mohamed Jama, 37, of Eagan, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two fifth-degree drug possession charges for his role in receiving a delivery of 96 pounds of khat in October 2002.
A trial management conference was set for Nov. 18 and a jury trial scheduled for Nov. 19 in Kandiyohi County District Court.
The complaint against Jama was also amended this week from first-degree to fifth-degree counts. The original counts were mischarged and should have been fifth-degree charges, according to Kandiyohi County Attorney Jenna Fischer.
Jama and two others were charged in the case. Hiss Ahmed Ismail pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree controlled substance charge in April 2003 and was sentenced to 150 days in jail, a $500 fine and five years of probation. Siyad Abdi Warfa was acquitted of his charges in July 2003.
According to the complaint, CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents received information from a shipping company that there were two large and suspicious packages to be delivered to an address along the 1100 block of 24th Street Northwest. The shipping company believed both the lighting company name and the recipient name on the packages were fictitious.
The packages were brought to the Law Enforcement Center in Willmar and a canine officer inspected them, alerting the officers to 96 pounds of khat, packaged in bundles of 60 sticks each. Each of the sticks was estimated at $20, for an estimated total street value of $370,800. Khat is a leafy plant that contains a stimulant listed as a controlled substance.
A drug task force agent acted as the delivery man and brought the packages to the address, where Jama signed for them. Warfa also at the apartment. Other officers who were conducting surveillance saw Jama and Ismail come out of the building with the packages and put them into a car. The vehicle was subsequently stopped and the men arrested.