Three Somali men indicted on drug charges are being investigated in a human trafficking scheme, police said.
Yassin Yusuf, 23, Ahmad Ahmad, 26, and Mohamed Amwar, 30, were indicted this month by the Sumner County grand jury on four charges of possessing narcotics, illegal drugs and paraphernalia.Amwar was also indicted on one count of driving with a revoked license. The three suspects remained at the Sumner County Jail on $100,000 bond each as of press time Friday, according to indictments and jail officials.
The three suspects were first captured in August as they were headed south toward Nashville on Interstate 65. An investigator with the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force of Sumner County pulled over the SUV the three men occupied because the car was following another vehicle too closely, arrest reports said.
Yusuf told the investigator he did not have a driver’s license because it was revoked. During a search of the SUV, the investigator discovered approximately 1 gram of marijuana, six hydrocodone pills, a small amount of cocaine, digital scales and plastic bags, some of which were hidden throughout the vehicle. The suspects denied any knowledge of the drugs, the reports said.
Police later learned the three suspects also had f ederal charges of identity thef t and f raudulent use of credit cards.This led officials with the U.S.Secret Service in Nashville to get involved in the investigation, said Kelly Murphy, director of the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force.
“Some of the credit cards had been encoded with a different number,” said Drug Task Force Investivator Jason Ghee, who arrested the trio. “The evidence has been turned to the Secret Service.”
Investigators also learned there was an active federal investigation of the trio through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security involving human traf f icking, Murphy said.
The suspects were indicted by the federal government in the fall of 2010 as part of 29 individuals belonging to a Somali immigrant gang involved in a human trafficking scheme with suspects in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Ghee said.
When questioned af ter the stop in August, the suspects told Ghee several conf licting stories. One said he didn’t know where they were going, another told the investigator they were en route to see a friend in Nashville and the third said they were headed to Nashville for a federal court hearing involving the credit card fraud and human traf f icking charges, Ghee said.
Yusuf’s appointed attorney, Micah Ketron, declined to comment because he said he had not had enough time to review the case. Ahmad and Amwar did not have listed attorneys as of Friday, according to court documents.
The three suspects appeared for initial hearings in Sumner County General Sessions Court Aug. 7. They were arraigned Friday, Sept. 20, and are scheduled to appear in the Sumner County Criminal Court for settlement hearings Dec. 19. Amwar was scheduled to appear in court Friday, Sept. 27, records show.
Amwar, whose full name according to indictments is Mohamed Ahmed Amwar, had variations of his name in a police database and jail records that include Ahmed Amwar Mohamed and Anwar Ahmed Mohammed.