Foreign National Sentenced to Over 21 Years for Mailing Ricin to President of the United States in 2020
Fazliddin Kurbanov, 33, an Uzbek national, was sentenced today to 25 years in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge of the District of Idaho for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possessing an unregistered destructive device.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson of the District of Idaho and Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Division made the announcement.
Judge Lodge also sentenced Kurbanov to a term of supervised release of three years and imposed a fine of $250,000. Kurbanov, who was convicted in August 2015 after a 20-day trial, will also face deportation proceedings at the end of his prison sentence.
“Fazliddin Kurbanov was sentenced for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and procuring bomb-making materials in the interest of executing a terrorist attack on American soil,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Thankfully, the threat posed by Kurbanov was disrupted by the tireless efforts of the law enforcement community and its partners. Defending our nation from the threat of terrorism, whether at home or abroad, remains the highest priority of the National Security Division, and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to harm to our country and our citizens.”
“The lengthy term of imprisonment imposed by the Court ensures that this defendant, who by his words and acts was intent on taking American lives, does not and will not pose any further threat to the safety and security of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Olson. “The investigation, prosecution, and now sentence in this case demonstrate the cooperative law enforcement effort by federal, state and local agencies to protect our national security and prevent acts of terrorism. I commend the men and women at every level of law enforcement and prosecution, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Ada County and Canyon County Sheriff’s Offices and the Boise City Police Department, who assisted in this effort.”
“The worst of intentions on the part of Mr. Kurbanov, that is the mass killing of Americans, were thwarted by the best of collaboration on the part of the entire law enforcement community,” said Special Agent in Charge Barnhart.
According to evidence presented at trial:
Between the summer of 2012 and his arrest in May 2013, Kurbanov, who was living in Boise, Idaho, communicated by email and Skype with a person or persons operating a website for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Kurbanov discussed with the website administrator his animosity toward Americans, particularly the military; his desire to build a bomb; possible targets in the United States, including military bases in Idaho and Texas; and his need for instruction on how to construct and remotely detonate a bomb. Additionally, Kurbanov searched for and later discussed with an FBI confidential human source targets including military bases in the United States, specifically West Point Military Academy in New York. The website administrator instructed the defendant to obtain a specific anti-virus software to protect the IMU’s website and to obtain and provide any amount of money. The defendant contacted his brother, who lived overseas, about obtaining the anti-virus software and he sent the software to Kurbanov. Shortly before his arrest, the defendant caused an Idaho corporation to open, through which he intended to funnel money to the IMU.
Between at least Nov. 15, 2012, and May 16, 2013, Kurbanov possessed bomb-making components at his Boise apartment, including a hollow hand grenade, a hobby fuse, ammunition containing smokeless powder, tannerite, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate, charcoal, yellow sulfur powder and fertilizer. He purchased these items during the summer and fall of 2012. FBI special agents observed the bomb-making components during a court-authorized search of Kurbanov’s apartment in November 2012 and seized many of the same items during a second court-authorized search in May 2013.
Kurbanov’s activities were closely monitored by federal agents during the investigation and no terrorist attack occurred.
During the sentencing hearing, an explosives expert provided evidence that the bomb-making components Kurbanov possessed were capable of causing significant harm. Prosecutors argued that these capabilities, coupled with Kurbanov’s many statements of hatred toward Americans and desire to kill them, warranted the lengthy sentence.
Kurbanov still faces a separate one-count indictment returned in May 2013 in federal court in Utah alleging that from about Jan. 14, 2013, continuing through Jan. 24, 2013, he taught and demonstrated how to make explosive devices, and distributed information relating to the manufacture and use of an explosive or weapon of mass destruction. His alleged intent was that the teaching, demonstration and information be used for and in furtherance of an activity that would constitute a federal crime of violence. The Utah indictment was returned in May 2013, at the same time as the Idaho indictment.
The Idaho case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with assistance from the Boise Police Department, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Ada County, Idaho, Sheriff’s Office and the Canyon County, Idaho, Sheriff’s Office.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron Lucoff and Heather Patricco of the District of Idaho and Trial Attorney Larry Schneider of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.