A former Army captain from Johns Island has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after admitting that he smuggled heroin into the United States inside DVD cases.
Thirty-six-year-old Saleem Akbar Sharif was sentenced by a federal judge in Delaware Wednesday. Sharif had pleaded guilty last year to smuggling more than 2.5 kilograms of heroin into the U.S. while working as a contractor in Afghanistan.
Sharif pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute heroin. His attorneys blamed post-traumatic stress disorder from the violence he saw during his deployment to Iraq.
Prosecutors suggested that Sharif was motivated by profit, and the defense acknowledged that Sharif knew what he was doing was wrong. Court records show Sharif and his accomplices concealed the heroin in DVD cases.
Prosecutors say Sharif was caught after Drug Enforcement Administration officials arranged for him and another alleged dealer to meet with an informant at a Wilmington, DE., Amtrak station. Agents arrested Sharif and the other accused dealer at that meeting.
In a post-arrest statement, Sharif admitted to traveling to Delaware for the purpose of selling heroin to the source. He further admitted that he imported heroin into the United States during his time in Afghanistan.