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August 7, 2009

US CITIZEN TALIBAN SUPPORTER SENTENCED TO PRISON

Kobie Williams tells court actions were inconsistent with Muslim faith

(HOUSTON) – Kobie Diallo Willaims, 36, convicted of conspiring to unlawfully possess firearms by an alien and supporting the Taliban, has been sentenced to prison, United States Attorney Tim Johnson, FBI Houston Division Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers and David Kris, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's National Security Division, announced today.

At a hearing today before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., Williams, a U.S. citizen and resident of Houston, was sentenced to 54 months imprisonment without parole and fined $5,000. Williams pleaded guilty in November 2006 to conspiring with several foreign nationals, some of whom had entered the U.S. on student visas, to engage in paramilitary training with weapons that Williams supplied in preparation to join the Taliban. Under federal law, foreign nationals are not permitted to possess firearms. Today, the court found that Williams' conduct was subject to the terrorism adjustment of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines as his conduct was intended to retaliate against the United States government.
 
“The security of our nation depends upon our continued vigilance,” said Johnson. “Today’s sentence reflects our determination to justly punish those who support terrorist organizations determined to destroy our nation and way of life.”

Through an undercover investigation, the FBI obtained evidence - including recorded conversations – beginning in May 2005 that Williams and others traveled to various locations within the Southern District of Texas for scheduled weekends of camping/training to prepare to support the Taliban. Williams and the others met on at least six occasions from May 2005 through June 2006 to engage in paramilitary exercises with firearms, including target and sniper training and to discuss plans to join the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

Additionally, the investigation produced evidence - and Williams has admitted to - contributing several hundred dollars to support the Taliban - a designated global terrorist organization by the United States – in its efforts against the U.S. military.

"This case is another example of the FBI Houston Division's commitment to identifying persons within our communities who would conspire to commit acts of terror either at home or abroad,” Powers said. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our citizens from terrorist acts."

In determining and handing down the sentence, the court accepted as sincere Williams' open court apology for his actions, that William's convictions had changed based upon his representation that his actions were inconsistent with the Muslim faith and considered a number of letters from the community on Williams' behalf.   

Williams has been in custody since his November 2006 arrest and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

Co-defendant, Adnan Mirza, a foreign national who entered the United States on a student visa, was charged along with Williams for his alleged involvement in this conspiracy and for unlawfully possessing a firearm is pending trial Oct. 5, 2009.  

Case was investigated by FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Glenn Cook, Shelley Hicks, James McAlister and Trial Attorney Jennifer Smith of the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section.

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