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Charges dropped against 3 in Somali sex ring against 3 dropped

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A judge in Nashville has dismissed child sex-trafficking charges against three individuals who were indicted in a Somali gang sex-trafficking ring, because they were juveniles when the alleged crimes occurred.

U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes issued an order last Thursday dismissing the charges against Abdullahi Hashi, Hassan Ahmed Dahir and Abdirahman Abdirazak Hersi, and defense attorneys were trying to get them released from jail this week.

Haynes noted in his order that federal prosecutors had not proven that the three were at least 18 at the time of the offenses. Their cases were severed from trial of nine of the defendants in April after defense attorneys argued that they were younger than indicated by the dates of birth listed in their immigration papers.

The three were among about 30 people indicted in a case against members of gangs called the Somali Outlaws, the Somalia Mafia and the Lady Outlaws. The indictment claimed that women, some under the age of 18, were being used a prostitutes in a ring that extended from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee.

No trial date has been set for the remaining defendants.

Prosecutors handling the case have struggled with issues related to the ages of both the victims and the defendants.

At the beginning of the trial, federal prosecutors acknowledged that the birth certificate for their main witness, who was identified in court as Jane Doe -- 2, was fake and that it wasn't clear exactly how old she was.

Defense attorneys for the three individuals successfully argued that their clients were juveniles when the alleged crimes occurred between 2006 and 2009 in Minnesota.

The three all faced charges of conspiracy to commit child sex-trafficking, conspiracy to benefit financially from the sex trafficking of children, attempt to commit child sex-trafficking and sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion.

Haynes noted that under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, government prosecutors could seek certification to transfer a juvenile's charges to the district court, but the government has not done that. However, his order has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.


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