When federal authorities arrested an Uzbekistan national accused of conspiring with a designated terrorist organization in his home country and helping scheme to use a weapon of mass destruction in Boise Thursday, Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said Idaho’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force was likely involved.
Nielsen is a member of that task force which has membership from city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. It was formed after the attacks on American Sept. 1, 2001.
The U.S. attorney’s office said Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested at an apartment complex in south Boise on Thursday morning after a grand jury issued a three-count indictment as part of an investigation into his activities in Idaho and Utah.
“Local athorities are 100 percent involved,” Nielsen said about anti-terrorist actions. “They use our tactical teams and our expertise about the local area.”
The Idaho grand jury’s indictment charges Kurbanov with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The indictment also alleges he possessed an unregistered explosive device.
A separate federal grand jury in Utah also returned an indictment charging Kurbanov with distributing information about explosives, bombs and weapons of mass destruction.
Kurbanov was being held in the Ada County Jail and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boise at 9 a.m. today.
Wendy Olson, the U.S. attorney in Idaho, said Kurbanov is the only person charged, and any potential threat was contained by his arrest.
“He was closely monitored during the course of the investigation,” she said. “The investigation has been under way for some time.”
Olson declined to share any other specifics of Kurbanov’s alleged activities, including whether any potential terrorist threat or targets were domestic or abroad.
A news release from the U.S. attorney’s office said Kurbanov is in the United States legally, but Olson declined to give details about his immigration status.
It was unclear when he moved to Idaho or the extent of his activities in Utah. An Idaho telephone number registered to Kurbanov has been disconnected.
The Idaho indictment alleges that between August 2012 and May 2013, Kurbanov knowingly conspired with others to provide support and resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a designated terrorist organization.
The alleged co-conspirators were not named.
In count two, the indictment alleges Kurbanov provided material support to terrorists, knowing that the help was to be used in preparation for a plot involving the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The indictment also alleges that on Nov. 15, 2012, Kurbanov possessed an explosive device, consisting of a series of parts intended to be converted into a bomb. Those parts included a hollow hand grenade, a hobby fuse, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate and sulfur.
Meanwhile, in Utah, federal investigators said that for a 10-day period in January 2013, Kurbanov taught and demonstrated how to make an “explosive, destructive device, and weapon of mass destruction.” They say he showed Internet videos, provided written recipes and oral instructions, and conducted instructional shopping trips to demonstrate how to make a bomb.
The indictment from Utah also alleges that Kurbanov intended that the videos, recipes, instructions and shopping trips be used to make an explosive device for the “bombings of a place of public use, public transportation system, and infrastructure facility.”
Sheriff Nielsen said members of the Anti-Terrorist Task Force meet at lest once a year — more often if activities warrant — to coordinate enforcement efforts. Pocatello is one of three “fusion centers” in Idaho where local and federal information is fed into a common data base. The others are in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.
“For a long, long time we never talked to each other,” Nielsen said about federal, state and local police intelligence. “After 9-11, we started sharing.”
The sheriff said the main focus of this combined effort is terrorism — whether from radical Islamic groups or homegrown anarchists.
“We’re not talking about Tea Party groups,” Nielsen said. “We’re talking about people who want to take up arms and overthrow the government.”