Man who lived in Pelham sentenced for supporting terrorism

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

An Uzbek native who lived for about two years at a Pelham extended-stay hotel will spend more than 15 years in prison after he was sentenced July 13 for providing material support to terrorism, threatening to kill President Barack Obama and illegally possessing a weapon.

Kodirov

U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced 22-year-old Uzbek native Ulugbek Kodirov to 15 years and eight months in prison about five months after Kodirov pleaded guilty to the charges.

He faced a maximum possible sentence of 30 years, court officials said previously. He is the first person to be convicted in the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Alabama.

As part of his plea deal, Kodirov agreed to be “deported without delay” after serving his prison sentence.

“This case is a sobering reminder that terrorist activity can happen anywhere,” U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said. “This case has a happy ending. Kodirov is going to prison for more than 15 years and no one was hurt.”

Prosecutors previously said Kodirov came to the United States in 2009 on a student visa, but the visa was revoked in 2010 when Kodirov failed to enroll in a school. Kodirov’s attorney, Lance Bell, said Kodirov lived at the Oak Mountain Lodge in Pelham for the majority of the time he was in the United States.

Prosecutors said Kodirov had been in contact with a person known as “the Emir,” who was involved in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, while Kodirov was living in Pelham. Whisonant said the IMU is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

In July 2011, prosecutors said Kodirov traveled to a motel in Leeds. There, Kodirov met with an undercover agent who offered him a choice of several weapons: A fully automatic machine gun, a sniper rifle with a telescopic scope and four disassembled hand grenades.

The undercover agent showed Kodirov how to assemble and arm the grenades before Kodirov left the motel room with the disassembled grenades and the machine gun. Law enforcement agents then arrested Kodirov before he left the motel.