Eritrean Man Convicted on Cocaine Distribution Charge by Federal Jury in Birmingham

By Kent Faulk | | March 05, 2014


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — A Birmingham man faces a June 25 sentencing after being convicted on a federal charge of possession with the intent to distribute about a pound of cocaine, federal authorities announced today.

A federal jury convicted Biniam Asghedom, 40, on Tuesday following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler in Birmingham, according to a joint statement issued by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.

Asghedom is an Eritrean national. Eritrea is a small nation along the Red Sea on the horn of Africa surrounded by Sudan, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.

“We respect the jury’s decision. However, we feel we have solid appeal grounds and will continue to work hard to exonerate our client,” Adam Bollaert, an attorney for Asghedom.

According to the statement from Vance and Morris: Evidence at the trial showed Birmingham police stopped Asghedom for a traffic violation on Dec. 1, 2010, after federal agents had followed him from a known drug location. Asghedom was one of a number of targets of a larger DEA investigation. After obtaining Asghedom’s consent, officers searched the 2000 GMC Sierra pick-up truck he was driving and found the cocaine and $14,500. Forensic testing later revealed that the outside packaging of the cocaine had two latent fingerprints that matched Asghedom.

“Asghedom’s conviction marks another success in law enforcement’s concerted efforts to eliminate the dangerous street drugs that devastate neighborhoods and fuel violent crime.” Vance said.

The DEA investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Dimler prosecuted.

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