Jones County Assistant District Attorney Kristen Martin told jurors during her closing remarks Monday afternoon that “birds of a feather flock together.” Her use of the idiom, apparently intended to imply that defendant Talib Mujahid was doing business with the wrong crowd, helped the State reach its desired outcome as a Laurel jury convicted Mujahid of the sale of methamphetamine.
Circuit Judge Dal Williamson then sentenced Mujahid to eight years in prison, with the time to be served day for day. Before the sentence was announced, the defendant wanted to speak to the court and was allowed to do so. He told the court that he had a drug use problem and not a drug selling issue, noting that he had been in rehab. Mujahid added that he had worked for local law enforcement as a undercover buyer, even claiming that he had made more undercover buys than the confidential informant used by law enforcement to apprehend him.
“I’ve worked for all you people . . . You are playing Russian roulette with my life," Mujahid said angrily, even using a demeaning racial reference during his protracted statement.
“You have tried very hard to make this case about race,” responded the judge. “It has nothing to do with race. We have a plague in this culture – it’s illicit drugs. You are a contributor to that problem.”
Williamson said he thinks about how the drug problem is adversely affecting our children and noted that Mujahid had contributed to that bad problem.
Defense attorney Michael Mitchell told the jury in his closing remarks that the undercover buyer used by officers was himself a criminal and used drugs with the people he would later set up.
“Doesn’t it leave a bad taste in your mouth?” Mitchell asked the jurors about the practice of using drugs with a person one day and turning him over to law enforcement the next.
Mitchell also argued that the video filmed by the confidential informant, and used by the State as an element of its evidence, did not demonstrate an actual sale of a drug.
Martin responded in her final words to the jurors that the confidential informant was never portrayed as a boy scout and that he “is not on trial today; Mr. Mujahid is.”
She also pointed out that law enforcement officers cannot use law-abiding citizens as undercover informants, because the drug dealers don’t trust them.
The jury took 23 minutes to return the guilty verdict for the sale of .0379 grams of methamphetamine that took place on July 7, 2016. Mujahid chose to not testify in the trial, and the defense called no witnesses to the stand.