Pirate Attack Resulted in Murder of Four U.S. Citizens
NORFOLK, VA—Mounir Ali, a/k/a “Muner Ali,” 23, of Yemen, was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to life in prison for acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle. Ali previously pled guilty to the piracy charge on July 7, 2011.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after Ali was sentenced by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.
“Despite being a victim of piracy himself, Mr. Ali voluntarily joined his captors to attack and hold four Americans hostage for ransom,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The greed for ransom money ultimately led to the cold-blooded murder of the hostages. Pirates who attack U.S. citizens on the high seas—whether successful or not, whether violent or not—must get the message that they will face lifelong consequences for their actions.”
“Even after being victimized by piracy himself, Mr. Ali couldn’t resist the temptation to plunder another ship in search of a cash payout,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk. “That selfish act resulted in the death of four Americans. Piracy is a scourge on our seas, disrupting trade and threatening Americans’ lives. The FBI will continue to do all in its power to maintain the rule of law and protect our citizens, wherever they may be.”
According to court documents, Ali is one of 14 defendants charged together with the piracy of the S/V Quest in February 2011 that resulted in the murder of four American citizens in the Indian Ocean. This defendant, the sole Yemeni, was part of the crew of another boat that was hijacked by a separate group of pirates some months earlier. The defendant had been taken on at least two piracy outings in his captured ship. On the second outing, the defendant was with other pirates when the Yemeni fishing boat, used as a mothership for the Quest hijacking, was captured. The defendant transferred to the Yemeni fishing boat and then chose to go with the pirates when they located the Quest in exchange for a share of the ransom. Ali is the seventh of the defendants to be sentenced of the 11 who have pled guilty to offenses related to the Quest piracy.
The investigation of the case is being conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Eastern District of Virginia Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla and Brian J. Samuels, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.