For Immediate Release
Reynoldsburg Man Pleads Guilty to Crimes Related to Robberies, I-70 Shootout
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Aden Abdullahi Jama, 20, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to being an accessory after the fact to bank robbery, two counts of aiding and abetting robberies and two counts of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during the robberies.
Jama and Faisal M. Darod, 23, of Columbus, were charged by a federal grand jury in a 10-count superseding indictment on Sept. 27.
The two central Ohio men were allegedly involved in the July 6 shooting of a Columbus police officer. Jama admitted in court today to participating in related crimes on July 5 and July 6.
According to his plea agreement, on July 5, Jama aided and abetted Darod and another individual after they robbed at gunpoint the Fifth Third Bank on Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington. Specifically, Jama met up with the men on West Sixth Avenue in Columbus and drove them to the Baymont Inn and Suites on Morse Road. This allowed Darod and the other individual to abandon a stolen Corvette they used during the robbery.
While at the hotel, Darod and Jama recorded a video on Darod’s cell phone showing Darod lying on the bed surrounded by the recently stolen cash. In the video, Darod raps about “cheese” – i.e., money, being in the air and everywhere.
The next day, on July 6, Jama served as a driver and/or lookout both before and after an armed robbery at Byers Imports in Whitehall.
Shortly after the robbery, Jama and Darod met up with the car thief at townhomes on the southeast side of Columbus. The three men then drove the stolen Porsche Cayenne, sometimes exceeding 100 miles per hour, to Hilliard to commit another armed bank robbery.
Jama again served as the lookout and aided and abetted the armed robbery and the use of a firearm during that robbery at Fifth Third Bank on Hilliard-Rome Road in Hilliard.
Unbeknownst to the three men, Whitehall police detectives had been tracking their movements using the Porsche Cayenne’s onboard GPS system. The detectives surrounded the stolen car at Fifth Third Bank and ordered the men to stop the vehicle. The now-deceased driver drove the stolen Porsche through a gap in the detectives’ cars and fled over a grass embankment onto Hilliard-Rome Road, and, eventually, out to Roberts Road and the freeway.
Columbus police officers then located the stolen vehicle on I-70 traveling eastbound. The men reached speeds of more than 125 miles per hour near rush hour while attempting to flee law enforcement.
The vehicle became damaged and came to an abrupt stop before Jama and Darod both fled on foot. The third man used a handgun with an extended magazine to ambush the responding officers. He opened fire from close range and struck one officer. That officer suffered life-threatening injuries. The driver of the stolen vehicle was struck several times and died of his gunshot wounds soon after.
Following the gun battle on I-70, a coordinated manhunt ensued for Jama and Darod. Darod was arrested in Columbus on the evening of July 7. By then, he had conducted several internet searches for flights out of Columbus to Somalia. U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security Investigation agents arrested Jama at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on July 8, bound for Turkey, with an ultimate destination of Somalia.
Aiding and abetting a bank robbery is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a crime of violence carries a potential penalty of at least five years and up to life in prison. Being an accessory after the fact of bank robbery is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Congress sets the maximum statutory sentence. Sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court at a later hearing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Charges remain pending against Darod.
Kenneth L. Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant; the U.S. Marshals in Columbus and Chicago; ICE and HSI Chicago; the Whitehall, Minerva Parka and Upper Arlington police departments; and Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin announced the guilty plea entered this morning before U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah R. Litton is representing the United States in this case.