BIRMINGHAM, AL—U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon today sentenced Ulugbek Kodirov, an Uzbek national who has lived in the United States since 2009, to 15 years and eight months in prison for providing material support to terrorism, threatening to kill President Barack Obama, and illegally possessing a weapon.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce White Vance, Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco; FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Glenn N. Anderson; Secret Service SAC Roy Sexton; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) SAC Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. announced the sentence.
Kodirov, 22, of Uzbekistan, pleaded guilty in February to one count of providing material support to terrorism, one count of threatening to kill the president, and one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. Kodirov is the first person to be convicted in the Northern District of Alabama for providing material support to terrorism.
U.S. Attorney Vance praised the quick response and careful investigative work by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the Northern District of Alabama, which led to Kodirov’s arrest before anyone was harmed. “This case is a sobering reminder that terrorist activity can happen anywhere,” said U.S. Attorney Vance. “Our community has the coordinated efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement to thank for the immediacy of their response to this threat. This case has a happy ending—Kodirov is going to prison for more than 15 years, and no one in our community was hurt,” she said.
“This case demonstrates the continuing threat posed by violent extremists in this country and how law enforcement works together to neutralize such plots,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “Today, Mr. Kodirov is being held accountable for his actions thanks to the efforts of the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors involved in this matter.”
FBI SAC Maley thanked the members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes the Jefferson and Shelby, Alabama County Sheriff’s Offices; Birmingham, Hoover, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Departments; the Transportation Security Agency; Secret Service; ATF; and the Department of Homeland Security. He also thanked the Pelham and Leeds, Alabama Police Departments for their assistance in this case. “The JTTF has been diligently investigating and building partnerships to protect Alabama from terrorists since 9/11, and its efforts put it in the unique position to interdict a violent act of terrorism. This case serves as a reminder of the dangers of the Internet on radicalizing our youth right in our own back yards, and all citizens and organizations need to remain vigilant on the ever-increasing threat from home-grown extremists,” he said.
“Mr. Ulugbek Kodirov came to the United States as a student and a welcomed guest. To date, that has dramatically changed,” said ATF SAC Anderson. “Kodirov will be serving time at the Federal Bureau of Prisons for his threats against President Obama and illegal possession of a firearm. It is shocking that he was willing to arm himself with hand grenades to further his agenda. Thankfully, this recipe for disaster was averted. ATF and our law enforcement partners will continue to work cases like these and other violent crime to keep cities, small and large, across America safe every day,” Anderson said.
“In the fight against domestic terrorism, it is absolutely essential that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work closely together to share information and chase down leads,” said HSI SAC Parmer. “In this case, the JTTF worked exactly as it is intended to by identifying and eliminating a serious threat to the president of the United States.”
“The Secret Service values its role as a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and our partnerships with task force members representing local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies,” said Secret Service SAC Sexton. “A dangerous situation was thwarted and the person behind it was stopped because of the hard work of our dedicated task force investigators.”
Kodirov acknowledged in his guilty plea that he had been in communication with an individual whom he believed to be a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and that Kodirov interpreted these conversations to mean that he should kill President Obama. Kodirov then took steps to obtain weapons to carry out his plans to kill the president. The IMU is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department. Kodirov also showed jihadist websites and videos on his computer to another individual and told that person that he wanted to assist others in jihad overseas, according to his plea agreement.
Kodirov also acknowledged that he had lengthy conversations in July 2011 with a different individual about Kodirov’s desire to kill President Obama and possible ways to carry out the assassination. That individual traveled to Birmingham to meet Kodirov and introduced him to another individual, an undercover agent, from whom Kodirov intended to obtain weapons he would use to kill the president.
The three men met on July 13, 2011, at a motel in Leeds. In that meeting, the agent presented a fully automatic Sendra Corporation Model M15-A1 machine gun, a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight, and four disassembled hand grenades and asked Kodirov if he would like to use any of them to “carry out his plan to kill the president,” according to the plea agreement. Kodirov chose the M15-A1 machine gun and the hand grenades and left the meeting with the weapons. Agents arrested Kodirov before he left the motel.
Kodirov entered the United States on a student visa in June 2009. His visa was revoked on April 1, 2010, for failing to enroll in school. Thereafter, he was unlawfully present within the United States. He was living in an extended-stay motel in Pelham at the time of his arrest.
The FBI, ATF, HSI, and Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael W. Whisonant Sr. and Ryan K. Buchanan prosecuted the case with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.