South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Oakville married couple, south county man charged with supporting terrorism

Other defendants are from Northern Illinois, New York
The condo off Forder Road rented by \Siki\ and Sedina Hodzic was quiet Saturday morning, following an FBI raid Friday for evidence related to the terrorism charges the Hodzics face. Photo by Gloria Lloyd.
The condo off Forder Road rented by \”Siki\” and Sedina Hodzic was quiet Saturday morning, following an FBI raid Friday for evidence related to the terrorism charges the Hodzics face. Photo by Gloria Lloyd.

Three south county residents and three alleged co-conspirators from across the country supported terrorists overseas with money and military equipment, federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment unsealed Friday.

A married couple from Oakville are among three local residents facing federal charges for allegedly banding together to funnel money and military equipment meant to aid in the terrorism of the Islamic militant group formerly known as ISIS that now refers to itself as the Islamic State.

A federal grand jury’s indictment alleges Oakville resident Ramiz Hodzic, more commonly known as Siki Ramiz Hodzic, and his wife, Sedina Hodzic, conspired with the four other defendants charged to assist the Islamic State by sending money through Paypal and Western Union to intermediaries in Turkey, Bosnia and Saudi Arabia.

The intermediaries then allegedly passed the money on to militants in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. In the wake of the Islamic State’s release of a series of videos showing the beheading of journalists and foreign-aid workers that the militant group held captive, the Syrian-based terrorist organization has been the target of air strikes by the United States and its allies, including some Middle Eastern countries.

All the defendants face one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and with providing material support to terrorists, which could carry a prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Siki Hodzic and Nihad Rosic of Utica, N.Y., are also charged with one count of conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country, which could carry a life sentence.

The Hodzics made their first appearance in front of a federal magistrate Friday evening, while FBI agents raided the condo the couple rents across from Bernard Middle School in the 4300 block of Chateau de Ville Drive, in the Chateau de Ville Condominums off Forder Road.

The Hodzics’ co-defendant Armin Har-cevic also lives in St. Louis County, ac-cording to the indictment. County tax records show he formerly lived in the 1200 block of Covington Manor Lane in Lemay.

The other defendants live in northern Illinois or upstate New York, including Mediha Medy Salkicevic, also known as Medy Ummuluna or Bosna Mexico, who lives in Schiller Park, Ill., Jasminka Ramic, who lives in Rockford, Ill., and Rosic of New York. Five of the defendants have been arrested, and a sixth is overseas.

Agencies assisting U.S. Attorney Rich-ard Callahan in the investigation include the St. Louis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investi-gations, the U.S. Postal Service, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis County Police Department.

The six alleged co-conspirators charged Friday are all Bosnian immigrants who have been naturalized or gained permanent residence in the United States. The Hodzics are both refugees from Bosnia who emigrated to south county, which along with south city has the largest population of Bosnians outside of Bosnia.

The defendants are alleged to have sought out supporters of foreign terrorist groups inside the United States, raising money from those supporters to send overseas and then coordinating the actual transfer overseas to militant fighters through Siki Hodzic, who collected the money and then sent it from St. Louis.

After raising money and contributing their own cash, the defendants allegedly sent at least $3,300 and shipped at least $538 of military surplus supplies overseas to another Bosnian native, Abdullah Pazara, who also once lived in St. Louis County but left to fight alongside the Islamic State in Syria and al-Qaeda in Iraq.

When Pazara left St. Louis in May 2013, he traveled first to Croatia, then to Syria in July 2013 to fight for terrorist groups. The Hodzics, Harcevic, Salkicevic, Ramic and Rosic are alleged to have started funneling aid to Pazara no later than May 2013, but possibly earlier.

To escape detection, the defendants called each other aliases and fictitious names and coordinated their efforts with each other and others through coded Facebook messages, electronic messages and phone calls, according to the indictment. Their codes included the terms “Brothers,” “Lions,” “Bosnian Brothers,” “mujahids,” “kufars,” “infidels” and “Shaheed,” among other words, prosecutors said. When referring to Iraq and Syria, they allegedly called the countries “the beach,” and they would call explosives, weapons and violent activities “dawa,” “dalwa” and “IDIS.”

The items sent overseas to Pazara and the terrorist organizations include U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical clothing and gear and accessories for guns like range finders and rifle scopes, which prosecutors alleged the defendants sent knowing that the equipment would be used for acts of terrorism against the United States that could include murder and other acts of violence.

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