Former soldier, West Point grad gets 10 years for smuggling heroin from Afghanistan

September 4, 2013 

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – A former Army captain who pleaded guilty to smuggling heroin into the U.S. while working as a contractor in Afghanistan has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Thirty-six-year-old Saleem Akbar Sharif of Johns Island, S.C., was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Delaware. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Sharif's defense attorney blamed his criminal conduct on post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the violence he saw after being deployed to Iraq in 2004.

Prosecutors suggested that Sharif was motivated by profit, and the defense acknowledged that Sharif knew what he was doing was wrong. Court records show Sharif and his accomplices concealed the heroin in DVD cases.

Sharif faced a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.

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