Two Houston men on trial for cannabis trafficking have cases continued

By Blake Schnitker on March 8 at 10:42am

The two Houston men arrested for cannabis trafficking made an appearance in Morgan County court yesterday.

Back on December 31st, Morgan County deputies along with Illinois State Police arrested two Texas men at the Love’s Travel Stop on the outskirts of South Jacksonville for cannabis trafficking. Twenty-one year old Muhammad Usama and 43-year old Syed Ahmad were stopped at the Love’s Travel Stop by a Morgan County Chief Deputy, who then called in for an Illinois State Police K-9 unit to search the individual’s RV, after the driver consented to the search. Upon searching the RV, authorities discovered approximately one thousand pounds of marijuana in various compartments of the vehicle, and Ahmad and Usama were arrested for alleged cannabis trafficking.

Both suspects appeared in Morgan County court yesterday for scheduled pre-trial hearings. Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll explains what occurred yesterday in Usama’s case.

“Muhammad Usama appeared yesterday. He is still being held in the Morgan County Detention Facility, he has yet to post bond. A private attorney entered his appearance, an individual by the name of Robert Kerr out of the city of Chicago, and as he was a new attorney, he asked the judge for a continuance so that he could review the discovery and go over it with his client. That motion to continue was granted, and the case is now set for pre-trial on May 2nd at 9 a.m.,” Noll says.

As for Ahmad, Noll says that he also got a new attorney, and that his case was also continued until early May.

“I believe (Ahmad) has bonded out, but he appeared in court yesterday as well, and his case was continued until the same date (as Usama’s). Another attorney from the city of Chicago entered his appearance, and that case was continued until May 2nd,” says Noll.

Noll also goes over the various allegations facing Ahmad and Usama and the possible sentencing ranges each of those charges carries.

“They’re both charges with three different counts, the more serious of which is unlawful cannabis trafficking. If convicted of that count, there’s a minimum amount of Department of Corrections time to be served of twelve years, a maximum of sixty years, with a maximum fine of $400,000. They are also charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver. With the amount (of cannabis) that they had, that’s a Class X felony, six-to-thirty years, with a maximum fine of $200,000. They’re also charged with possession of cannabis, which in this case is a Class 1 felony, with a minimum of four, maximum of fifteen years, a maximum fine of $200,000, and that count is probational, the other two are not,” Noll explains.

Both Usama and Ahmad are scheduled to appear for their next pre-trial conference on May 2nd at 9 a.m.