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Oct. 22, 2010

PAKISTANI STUDENT SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR CONSPIRING TO SUPPORT THE TALIBAN AND UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS

(HOUSTON) – A Pakistani national who entered the United States on a student visa has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole for unlawfully possessing firearms and conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers announced today.

Adnan Mirza, 33, convicted in May 2010 following a jury trial of all nine counts charged, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein to a total of 180 months imprisonment without parole. Judge Werlein sentenced Mirza to the maximum applicable prison term for each of the nine counts of conviction - five years imprisonment for each of the two conspiracy convictions (conspiracy to unlawfully possess firearms and conspiracy to provide material support and funds to the Taliban) which are to be served concurrently - to be followed by the maximum of 10 years imprisonment for each of the seven counts of unlawful possession of firearms/ammunition convictions which are also to be served concurrently. Mirza has also been fined $1,000 for each of the nine counts of conviction for a total of $9,000.

As a foreign national who had entered the United States on a student visa to attend a local community college in 2005 and 2006, Mirza is not permitted by federal law to possess firearms while in the United States. An FBI undercover investigation resulted in proof that Mirza and others intended to send funds to the Taliban and had engaged in weekend camping/training and practice sessions with firearms to prepare for “jihad” on six different occasions beginning in May 2006 at a location on the north side of Houston.       

In handing down the sentence, the court granted a request by the United States to increase the applicable sentencing guideline range by applying the terrorism enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, finding that Mirza’s criminal conduct made the enhancement appropriate and applicable. Additionally, the court’s order that the sentences imposed on various counts are to be served consecutively results in a total term of imprisonment which exceeds the statutory maximum penalty for any single count of conviction.

The investigation leading to the charges against Mirza and others was conducted by the Houston office of the FBI with the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Deputy Criminal Chief Glenn Cook and Assistant U.S. Attorney James McAlister prosecuted the case for the United States.

 

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