NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Five men arrested following a routine traffic stop Friday, Nov. 12, on the Ohio Turnpike in Braceville Township made their first court appearance Thursday.
Jibril Abdiselam, 24; Mohammeddeq Hassan, 27; Mahamoud Mohamed, 26; Zakaria Warsame, 25; and Said Abu appeared before Judge Philip M. Vigorito in Newton Falls Municipal Court.
During testimony, Trooper Brandon Miller said he pulled over a Chevy Impala on the Ohio Turnpike about 11:52 a.m. near mile post 210, for an illegal lane change. He said Warsame was driving the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle uncovered cash, credit cards, gift cards, ink, a printer and prescribing paper, a credit card embosser and marijuana.
“When the glove box fell down, a bunch of U.S. currency fell to the ground — hundreds, fifties, twenties, gift cards,” Miller testified.
Miller said the card embosser in itself was cause for further investigation.
“It caused us to investigate the cards that were found in the vehicle. Those were found to be fraudulent,” he said.
Miller said it took about three hours to confirm Abu’s identity. He had a driver’s license from Washington, but Miller said it was suspended.
“He claimed he had a Washington license, but I had two different dispatchers, eight areas and our Central Intelligence Unit try to locate his Washington license. We couldn’t do so,” he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation helped make a positive identification. Police said Mohammeddeq Hassan also presented a fake ID.
The men’s passports, as a result, were surrendered.
The men said in court they were on their way to Pittsburgh.
Judge Vigorita ruled that all charges will be turned over to a Trumbull County grand jury.
Attorney’s representing each suspect asked the court to reduce bond that was set previously at $25,000, but Vigorito denied the request.
At one point the attorney representing Said Abu stood up said his client wanted the court to know is an American citizen. All the suspects were born in Somalia and are American citizens.
Somalia is located Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia and Kenya.
The men used to live in Washington, but they are currently staying in the Columbus area. They told the court that they are all unemployed.
All five men are facing forgery charges and possessing criminal tools.
WKBN requested video from the dashboard camera of the car that pulled the men over. The Ohio State Highway Patrol denied that request since a police investigation into the case is ongoing. WKBN also requested police radio traffic during the stop, but police said that that will not be available for at least another day.