A Springdale resident who identifies himself as a sheik, an important Islamic spiritual leader, was arrested Monday on firearms and drug charges.
Town Marshal Jerry Taylor said he arrested Dawud Ahmad Abdur-Rahman on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms and of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
With help from Stevens County sheriff’s deputies, Taylor said he executed a search warrant and found guns, a small amount of marijuana and related paraphernalia in Ahmad’s home. He said the guns included three high-powered rifles and a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Ahmad, 54, was born Gary Lee Smith in Portland, and has used a number of aliases over the years, Taylor said. He said Ahmad was convicted of four drug counts in 1971, including possessing and selling cocaine, under the name of Lee Jay Barrett.
Ahmad served a little less than three years in the Marion (Ohio) Correctional Institution, and never got a court order restoring his right to own firearms, Taylor said.
Ahmad and Taylor both are key figures in Springdale’s cliffhanger municipal election last month. The town is evenly divided between two factions that either support or oppose Taylor as marshal.
Ahmad may have tipped the balance when he switched his allegiance and campaigned against Town Council and mayoral candidates who supported Taylor. Taylor opponent Dan Hite was elected mayor by one vote, and Hite ally Lowell Peterson won a council seat in a tie-breaking lottery.
Ahmad said he switched sides because he believes Taylor abused his power earlier this year when he arrested one of Ahmad’s sons on a second-degree negligent driving charge.
Taylor said he did nothing wrong, and has been investigating Ahmad for five or six months. He declined to say what triggered the investigation. However, Taylor said Ahmad told him last spring that “he smoked marijuana and he let his boys smoke marijuana.”
On Monday, Taylor said, Ahmad told him “he was going to think about praying for me.”
Ahmad is expected to have a bail hearing today and be arraigned later in the week. No formal charges have been filed yet.
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