A woman recently charged with making terrorist threats in a small North Dakota town claims she is innocent and being targeted because of her race and religion. But a local news station reports that not only has she been repeatedly charged with crimes in multiple states, she was previously arrested for her connection to a nationwide case of human sex trafficking.
Hawo Osman Ahmed, 26, is charged with a Class C felony of Terrorizing stemming from an incident last November 29 when she confronted three women from her Grand Forks apartment complex with a knife. According to a Grand Forks Police Department affidavit filed in the case, Ahmed said to the women “I’m going to bust all your tires on your car and windows,” “Come over here I’m going to cut you,” and “I’m going to slice your neck,” all while holding the weapon.
In an interview last Thursday with Valley News Live, Ahmed claimed she is being targeted because of her race and religion.
“I feel like I’m a Muslim woman who’s being attacked because I am a Muslim woman living in Grand Forks,” she told reporter Joshua Peguero. “I turned myself in because I know I didn’t commit the crime. I’m innocent and I know I can prove it.”
But Peguero discovered through court records that Ahmed has been charged in a string of incidents in Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota, including third degree assault and giving a false name to a police officer. On September 11 of last year, Ahmed was charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating a disorderly conduct restraining order.
Ahmed was also charged as part of a massive 2010 federal case of human sex trafficking involving three connected Somali gangs — the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia, and the Lady Outlaws — who ran a prostitution ring in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Ohio. Twenty-nine individuals were charged in the original federal case. According to the FBI, the prostitution ring trafficked girls as young as 13 from Minnesota to Nashville and Columbus.
As the case was progressing, a pregnant Ahmed and two of her friends confronted a key witness in the human sex trafficking case at a shopping mall. Ahmed and the federal witness got into a fight, and the trio were later arrested and charged with witness tampering. Ahmed and her friends were acquitted in July 2013 after a police officer was found to have made false and misleading statements. None of the other subjects charged in the federal sex trafficking case were convicted due to the local police officer’s misconduct.
Ahmed current has a federal lawsuit pending against the police officer.
Her victims claimed that she was known for climbing onto apartment balconies and breaking into other apartments. She denied those claims in her interview last Thursday.
The Class C felony she is currently charged with carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
Correction and retraction: An earlier version of this article identified a LinkedIn profile for Hawo Ahmed and stated that she had previously identified as the intended recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home based on a local news report. Habitat for Humanity states that this is another Hawo Ahmed who lives in Grand Forks, and who is entirely unconnected to this case. We have deleted those claims and apologize for the error.