The two suspects in last weekend’s large marijuana bust will appear in Morgan County court in less than two weeks.
Casual conversation between a Morgan County Deputy and two Texas men on Sunday led to one of the largest local narcotics busts in recent memory. As reported previously, 21-year old Muhhamed Usama and 43-year old Syed Fraz Ahmad, both of Houston, were arrested around 10 a.m. Sunday after authorities found close to one thousand pounds of marijuana in their RV while parked at Love’s Travel Stop in South Jacksonville.
With nearly a half ton of cannabis which authorities say holds a street value up to $5 million, Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says this case involves the largest seizure of drugs he’s dealt with. He also explains how Illinois define various laws when it comes to crimes of this nature.
“Illinois law has a cut off depending on how much marijuana one person possesses with intent to deliver. Depending on the amount, that (decides) the extent to which someone can be punished. In Illinois, the largest amount is 5,000 grams, if you possess more than 5,000 grams with intent to distribute to another individual, then it’s a Class X felony. The amount for this (case) is 453,000 grams. This is certainly the largest amount I have dealt with as a prosecutor. I’ve handled other cases that are over 5,000 grams, but certainly not this far above 5,000,” says Noll.
Noll says the suspects are accused of multiple charges in this case including cannabis trafficking, which he explains in further detail.
“Currently both individuals are charged with three counts here in Morgan County. One count of unlawful cannabis trafficking, and that allegation is that they brought more than 5,000 grams worth of cannabis into the state of Illinois with the intent to distribute that, not necessarily distribute it in Illinois but distribute it either in Illinois or in another state. So trafficking involves bringing the cannabis in from a different state into our state with the intent to distribute it somewhere,” Noll explains.
According to Noll, the cannabis trafficking charge is classified as a Special Class X felony, and carries possible sentences of 12 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Noll also goes over the other two charges Usama and Ahmad are alleged to have committed.
“They are also charged with possession with intent to deliver, and that’s another Class X felony. (It carries) similar allegations, just without the element that they brought the cannabis in from a different state. That’s also a Class X felony with a sentencing range of six to thirty years and a maximum fine of $200,000. They’re also charged with just straight possession of cannabis, and possession of that amount of cannabis is a Class 1 felony with a sentencing range of four to fifteen years in the Department of Corrections and a maximum fine of $25,000,” says Noll.
It was previously reported that Usama and Ahmad were scheduled to make their first court appearance in Morgan County in February. HOWEVER, according to Noll, the two suspects are due in court on Tuesday, January 16th at 10 a.m.