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United States v. Saidakhmetov

United States District Court, E.D. New York

December 20, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
AKHROR SAIDAKHMETOV, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

         On January 19, 2017, the defendant, Akhror Saidakhmetov, pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1). The Court now sentences the defendant and provides a complete statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2) of those factors set forth by Congress and the President and contained in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). For the reasons discussed below, the defendant is hereby sentenced to 180 months of incarceration, and payment of a $100.00 special assessment.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 24, 2015, the United States filed a Complaint against Akhror Saidakhmetov ("Defendant") and two co-defendants, alleging they had conspired to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, to wit the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ("ISIL"). ECF No. 1. The Government subsequently indicted Defendant and his co-defendants on March 9, 2015, ECF No. 14, and thereafter filed three Superseding Indictments on April 6, 2015, June 8, 2015, and May 9, 2016, respectively, ECF Nos. 28, 63, 135. On January 19, 2017, Defendant pleaded guilty to the first count of the Third Superseding Indictment (S-3), which alleged one count of Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1). The Court hereby sentences Defendant and sets forth its reasons for Defendant's sentence using the rubric of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         18 U.S.C. § 3553 outlines the procedures for imposing a sentence in a criminal case. If and when a district court chooses to impose a sentence outside of the Sentencing Guidelines range, the court "shall state in open court the reasons for its imposition of the particular sentence, and... the specific reason for the imposition of a sentence different from that described" in the Guidelines. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2). The court must also "state[] with specificity" its reasons for so departing "in a statement of reasons form." Id.

         "The sentencing court's written statement of reasons shall be a simple, fact-specific statement explaining why the guidelines range did not account for a specific factor or factors under § 3553(a)." United States v. Davis, 08-CR-332, 2010 WL 1221709, at *1 (E.D.N.Y.Mar. 29, 2010) (Weinstein, J.). Section 3553(a) provides a set of seven factors for the court to consider in determining what sentence to impose on a criminal defendant. The Court addresses each in turn.

         II. Analysis

         A. The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense and the History and Characteristics of the Defendant

         The first § 3553(a) factor requires the Court to evaluate "the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant." 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1).

         Defendant was born on June 26, 1995, in Turkestan, Kazakhstan, and lived with both of his parents until he was about four years old, when his mother filed for divorce. See Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") ¶¶ 46, 48, ECF No. 211; Def.'s Sentencing Mem. ("Def.'s Mem.") at 3-4, ECF No. 234. Defendant's father is reported to have been an alcoholic who abused his wife; after the divorce, he effectively abandoned his son. PSR ¶ 46; Def.'s Mem. at 3-4. Defendant and his mother thereafter moved to live with extended family in an agricultural community in Chernyak, Kazakhstan. PSR ¶ 48; Def.'s Mem. at 4. During Defendant's early youth, Defendant's mother would often leave him with his aunt and uncle for extended periods while she sought work in other regions and other countries. Def.'s Mem. at 7-8. At other times, Defendant moved to live with his mother when she found a new job, but would often be left alone in their apartment for much of the day. Id. at 8.

         Defendant's mother immigrated to the United States in 2010. PSR ¶ 48. Defendant lived with his aunt and uncle in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, until June 2012, when he joined his mother in the United States. Id. Defendant and his mother lived in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and Defendant began attending high school at James Madison High School. PSR ¶¶ 48, 56; Def.'s Mem. at 11-12. Defendant subsequently transferred to Abraham Lincoln High School and later left to school to pursue his G.E.D., as he had struggled to acclimate to school in America. See PSR ¶ 56; Def.'s Mem. at 11-12. In October 2014, Defendant began working at a cellphone repair business owned by co-defendant Abror Habibov; during the course of his employment by Habibov, Defendant worked in cellphone repair kiosks in, among other places, Savannah, Georgia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dover, Delaware. PSR ¶¶ 48, 56. It was during his rocky transition to the United States that Defendant became friends with co-defendant Abdurasul Juraboev and began to seek out Islamic teachings on the internet. Def.'s Mem. at 11-13. Defendant and Juraboev later became roommates after Defendant's mother moved out of the apartment she had shared with her some; at some point, the two also lived with a confidential informant who was working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). PSR ¶ 48; Def.'s Mem. at 17-18.

         In August 2014, agents of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force discovered a post on the Uzbek language social media site www.hilofatnews.com in which an individual, later determined to be Juraboev, expressed support for ISIL, which has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department. Id. ¶¶ 4, 7. In the same post, Juraboev expressed a desire to be a martyr for ISIL and threatened to kill the President of the United States. Id. ΒΆ 7. After determining that he was the author of the posts, FBI agents interviewed Juraboev twice; during both ...


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