Uzbek man staying in Pelham charged with threatening Obama

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A federal grand jury on July 26 indicted an Uzbek national who was staying at a Pelham extended-stay hotel on charges of threatening the life of President Barack Obama and illegally possessing weapons.


The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court, and charged Ulugbek Kodirov, 21, of Uzbekistan, with four counts of threatening the president – on July 9, July 10, July 11 and July 13. Kodirov was also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and unlawfully possessing a fully automatic weapon. Both firearm charges refer to a Sendra Corporation Model M15-A1 rifle, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

Law enforcement also charged Kodirov with receiving and possessing an unregistered grenade on July 13.

“Federal and local law enforcement agencies effectively coordinated to investigate a threat, which resulted in the arrest of Kodirov, who was charged by the grand jury this afternoon with repeatedly threatening to kill the President of the United States and with possessing grenades and an M15 machine gun,” Vance wrote in a press release.

According to court documents, Kodirov was arrested July 13 at a motel in Leeds after police said he procured the M15 machine gun from an undercover agent. He was arrested on a charge of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Kodirov came to the United States in June 2009 and remained in the country on a student visa. His student visa was revoked April 1, 2010, for failure to enroll in school, according to the arrest affidavit.

At the time of Kodirov’s arrest, police said he was living at an extended-stay motel in Pelham.

Pelham police Lt. Scott Tucker said the case was handled by federal agencies, but Pelham police worked with federal officials to investigate the suspect.

“I commend the FBI, Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Leeds and Pelham police departments, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and all members of the Northern District of Alabama’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for their outstanding work,” Vance wrote.

Kodirov faces maximum prison penalties of five years on each count of threatening the president, and 10 years on each of the weapons counts.

Vance and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Whisonant and Ryan Buchanan are prosecuting the case.