July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Somali man jailed for illegal plant

MEDINA — A Somali immigrant was sentenced to 90 days in jail Thursday for possessing an illegal stimulant contained in a plant native to his home country.

Hassan Warsame

Hassan Warsame, 36, of Portland, Maine, originally was charged with a first-degree felony for possessing more than four pounds of the plant. After a three-day trial, a common pleas jury in January reduced his charge to a fourth-degree felony for possessing less than an ounce.

During the trial, Warsame’s attorney argued the plant, called khat, belonged to Warsame’s friend, Abdullahi Handule, 38, also of Portland. Handule was a no-show at his trial in December and is still at large.

On the stand, Warsame admitted to chewing a piece of khat, but said he didn’t know his friend had so much.

Warsame had 35 days of jail time credit, so he’s scheduled for release in just less than two months.

“He’s got 55 days and he’s done with me,” Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler said. “He may not agree, but I think it’s for the best.”

Also in court:

• George Dafo, 57, pleaded guilty Thursday to five counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, second-degree felonies.

George Dafo

Timothy Lenzer

Dafo, 311 E. Walnut St., Wadsworth, is accused of downloading child pornography to his home computer.

County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi said the Wadsworth police officer who had to watch the videos was forced to stop regularly.

“That’s how disturbing these videos are,” Razavi said.

Dafo’s attorney said his client accidentally downloaded the videos with legal pornography.

Dafo originally was charged with five second-degree counts and five fourth-degree counts. The fourth-degree charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Kimbler sentenced Dafo to six months in jail. After his release, Dafo will be on probation for five years, during which time he will be allowed computer access only for work purposes and will not be allowed to possess pornography.

Kimbler also labeled Dafo a Tier II sex offender, meaning he must register with the sheriff’s office every 180 days for 25 years upon his release from jail.

• Timothy J. Lenzer, 19, 969 N. Huntington St., No. 2, failed to appear in court Thursday for his sentencing. Lenzer pleaded no contest in February to three counts of aggravated drug trafficking, fourth-degree felonies; hashish trafficking, a fourth-degree felony; trafficking unspecified drugs, a fourth-degree felony; and four counts of marijuana trafficking, one fourth-degree felony and three fifth-degree felonies.

Kimbler revoked Lenzer’s bond and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.