Judge: Pottstown Merchant Peddled ‘Death’ When He Sold K2

NORRISTOWN — Saying a Pottstown merchant peddled death when he sold synthetic marijuana from his downtown convenience store, a judge sent the man to state prison.

Rafie L. Ali, 35, who previously lived in an apartment above the Achi Store he operated at 315 E. High Street between February and May 2012, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Tuesday to seven to 14 years in a state correctional facility.

“He’s no different than a drug dealer, pure and simple,” said Judge Steven T. O’Neill, referring to Ali’s decision to sell the dangerous substance in a community that has waged a battle against drug dealers and addiction. “The nature of what was sold in that store destroys the fabric of a community. You engaged in danger in a community that doesn’t need it, doesn’t need any more drug dealers.”

Ali, who apologized for his conduct before learning his fate, remained solemn as the punishment was imposed.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131126/judge-pottstown-merchant-peddled-death-when-he-sold-k2

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Pottstown Merchant’s Fate For Selling K2 Hinges On High Court Ruling

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — The severity of a Pottstown merchant’s punishment for distributing synthetic marijuana from his store will hinge on an interpretation of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding mandatory sentences.

Rafie L. Ali, 35, who previously lived in an apartment above the Achi Store he operated at 315 E. High Street, saw his sentencing hearing postponed in Montgomery County Court on Thursday so prosecutors and defense lawyers in the case could weigh the ramifications of the high court ruling, handed down a few days after Ali’s June conviction, which affects how prosecutors seek mandatory prison terms for certain crimes.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and co-prosecutor Nicholas Reifsnyder are seeking mandatory prison terms against Ali, between 10 and 15 years, based on state laws that allow mandatory terms for drug sales carried out in school zones or with a firearm.

“He was a drug dealer masquerading as a businessman and that made him all the more dangerous,” Steele and Reifsnyder argued in a sentencing memorandum. “By keeping a firearm in close proximity to the potentially fatal drugs he was dealing, defendant contributed to the culture of violence that inevitably surrounds drug use and drug dealing.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130906/NEWS01/130909683/pottstown-merchant-s-fate-for-selling-k2-hinges-on-high-court-ruling#full_story

Ex-Pottstown Merchant Convicted Of Selling K2

NORRISTOWN — A former Pottstown store operator is the first merchant in Montgomery County to be convicted at trial under a recently enacted law of distributing synthetic marijuana from a business.

Rafie L. Ali, 35, who previously lived in an apartment above the Achi Store he helped operate at 315 E. High Street between February and May 2012, appeared stone-faced Thursday as a county jury convicted him of charges of corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and conspiring with another man to commit those crimes.  The jury deliberated about 2½ hours before reaching its verdict.

The arrest and trial of Ali marked the first time that a store operator was charged in the county with selling synthetic marijuana, known as K2, under a state law that went into effect in August 2011 and criminalized such activity.

“After that law went into effect it was publicized heavily that synthetic cannabinoids are illegal.  In this case these individuals decided to get around that by hiding the K2 substances behind the counter and selling it.  It’s a matter of greed, trying to make money off of…a toxic substance,” said First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130614/NEWS01/130619553/ex-pottstown-merchant-convicted-of-selling-k2#full_story

Trial Postponed For 2 Pottstown Men Who Allegedly Sold K2

NORRISTOWN — The trial of two Pottstown store owners accused of allowing synthetic marijuana to be sold from their store has been postponed after prosecutors moved to amend corrupt organization charges against the pair.

Montgomery County prosecutors on Tuesday amended the original charges to allege that Rafie L. Ali and Mohamed K. Himed, co-owners of the Achi Store at 315 E. High St., operated a corrupt organization in March, April and May 2012, a longer period of time than was originally charged. With the original charges filed last year, prosecutors had alleged the corrupt organization was in business only in May 2012.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who was slated to select a jury for the trial on Tuesday, granted the request of First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele to amend the corrupt organization charges to include the longer period of time. Defense lawyers James P. Lyons, who represents Ali, and Lawrence Fisher, who represents Himed, immediately asked that the trial be postponed because the defense needed additional time to review the prosecution’s amended charges.

Originally, Ali, 35, of the 400 block of East High Street, Pottstown, and Himed, 26, of the Bronx, N.Y., each were charged with corrupt organizations, delivery of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance for their alleged roles in the sale of synthetic marijuana, or K2, to undercover detectives at the store in May 2012. An officer purchased two containers of K2 from the store on May 22. One package was labeled “Dead Man,” and the other “Power Diesel,” according to court papers.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130319/NEWS01/130319235/trial-postponed-for-2-pottstown-men-who-allegedly-sold-k2#full_story

Pottstown Crash Deaths Focus Shifts To Drug Sale

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, Pa. — The investigation into a Monday night crash that killed two people and critically injured a third shifted Thursday to a downtown store that allegedly sold synthetic marijuana to one of the crash victims.

According to court documents obtained exclusively by The Mercury Thursday, members of Pottstown’s Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 315 and 317 E. High St., which houses a convenience store called the Achi Store.

As investigators were searching Tuesday for Roger Tracey Malloy, 27, of 303 N. York St., Pottstown, the driver in the fatal wreck, authorities learned that one of Malloy’s passengers, 16-year-old Kendall Harper, of Pottstown, had purchased K2, or synthetic marijuana, from the Achi Store, according to court papers filed seeking the warrant.

According to court papers, authorities learned in their investigation that Malloy has been smoking K2 and drinking before the crash occurred.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120525/NEWS01/120529577/search-warrant-for-drugs-served-on-pottstown-store-&pager=full_story