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Marijuana trafficking probe eyes brother of 'Lackawanna 6' convict

The brother of a man who went to prison in the "Lackawanna Six" case is the subject of an FBI investigation into marijuana trafficking and illegal use of identification.

Mohamed Taher, 31, of Lackawanna, appeared in federal court Monday afternoon in connection with a felony drug conspiracy charge filed against him last week.

In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch said Taher has been under scrutiny by the FBI for well over two years.

Taher hired several couriers to smuggle marijuana from Canada into Western New York, Detroit and Chicago, FBI Special Agent Brian R. Oman alleged in a court affidavit.

FBI agents arrested Taher last week and accused him of conspiring to possess and distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana. He pleaded not guilty.

Taher is the brother of Yasein Taher, one of the six men who took plea deals after they were arrested in 2002 on charges that they attended a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan run by al-Qaida. Yasein Taher was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

Mohamed Taher has had previous legal problems and has already served prison time for a federal marijuana trafficking conviction, Lynch said.

According to court papers, the FBI believes Mohamed Taher started hiring drug couriers in 2005, within two weeks of his release from prison in the earlier marijuana case.

The agent said Taher was stopped in April 2007 at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, where he was caught using someone else's ID while trying to cross the border.

In May 2007, agents followed Taher as he drove to the Cattaraugus Seneca Indian Reservation and watched him take a cloth laundry bag into a house trailer, Oman said. Police said they later found marijuana residue in the laundry bag and $21,000 cash in Taher's car.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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