Two men have pleaded guilty to kidnapping and other crimes in connection to what police described as a violent encounter over a drug debt in the Sebago Lake region in 2019.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office responded in the early hours of Sept. 23, 2019, to reports of shots fired and a naked man running down the road in Casco.

Police later said Ajoung Malual and Mahdi Ali forced a Naples man out of his home at gunpoint and drove to another home in Casco. The sheriff’s office said they locked the man in the trunk of the car while they searched the home, then drove to a rural area of Casco, told the man to strip naked and shot at him while he ran into the woods. The man later had surgery to remove bullet fragments from his leg.

Mahdi Ali, left, and Ajoung Malual Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office photo

Police arrested Malual and Ali later that day in Windham. Two other men were in their vehicle at the time but were not involved in the earlier incident. They were charged with drug possession. All four cases have now resolved.

Malual, 23, from Westbrook, pleaded guilty this week to kidnapping. His sentence was 15 years with all but five suspended. He also pleaded guilty to burglary, aggravated assault and two counts of reckless conduct with a firearm. He was also sentenced to five years on those charges, which he will serve concurrently.

Defense attorney Cory McKenna said one charge for terrorizing with a dangerous weapon was dismissed. He also emphasized Malual’s young age.

“He just got mixed up with the wrong crowd,” McKenna said. “He is a young local gentleman that I think, when he’s out, will be a productive member of society, and I truly believe that.”

Ali, 25, from Boston, pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping, aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm and two counts of reckless conduct with a firearm. His sentence is 16 years in prison, with all but six suspended. His attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Assistant Attorney General Johanna Gauvreau prosecuted the case for the state. In an email, she credited the sheriff’s office for its investigation. She said investigators relied on evidence from the scene and DNA analysis, as well as phone calls and letters while the men were in custody.

“CCSO was able to build a substantial case through a very thorough investigation despite essentially no cooperating witnesses, victims or co-defendants, because there was such a fear of retaliation from the offenders,” she said. “It is because of the dedication of those officers that this case was resolved.”

Two other men were arrested at the same time as Malual and Ali, but were not involved in the kidnapping incident.

Samson Samson, 23, pleaded guilty in 2019 to unlawful possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He was then extradited to Minnesota, where he was from, to face probation violations there. Defense attorney Kristine Hanly said a more serious trafficking charge was dismissed, and she emphasized that he did not play a role in the violent confrontation.

“At his plea hearing, it was put on the record by both myself and the state that he did not have anything to do with the kidnapping and the assaultive behavior,” Hanly said.

Noh Okubagzhi, 21, from Boston, also pleaded guilty last year to possession of scheduled drugs and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. His attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

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