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

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

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