Jury Convicts Pakistani Citizen of Conspiring to Support the Taliban and Unlawful Possession of Firearms

HOUSTON—After a three-day trial, a federal jury has convicted Adnan Mirza, 33, of all nine counts in an indictment arising from his efforts to provide support and funds to the Taliban, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced. Mirza, a citizen of Pakistan, had entered the United States on a student visa and was attending a local community college in 2005 and 2006 when he committed the offenses for which he was convicted.

The jury returned its verdicts Thursday night, finding Mirza guilty of conspiracy to unlawfully possess firearms, conspiracy to provide funds to the Taliban and all seven counts of unlawful possession by an alien of firearms and ammunition. U.S.District Judge Ewing Werlein, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Sept. 10, 2010. Mirza faces a maximum of five years imprisonment for each of the two conspiracy convictions as well as fines of up to $250,000. Each of the five unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition by an alien carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and a term of confinement of not more than 10 years. Mirza has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest and will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing.

During the trial, the government presented evidence that proved Mirza, a foreign national who had entered the United States on a student visa, is not permitted by federal law to possess firearms while in this country. Through an FBI undercover investigation, the evidence also proved Mirza and others engaged in weekend camping/training and practice sessions with firearms on six different occasions beginning in May 2006 at a location on the north side of Houston to prepare for Jihad. Evidence also proved Mirza and the others intended to send funds to the Taliban.

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 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.