Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Uzbekistan aliens held in N.Ky.

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - Four men from Uzbekistan who were arrested by Immigration and Naturalization Service agents in Fairborn, Ohio, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are being held in Northern Kentucky.

"Federal authorities arrested four out-of-status aliens from Uzbekistan and placed them in the removal process," said Patrick Elersic, agent in charge of the Cincinnati INS office.

Elersic would not say what led to their arrest in Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton. The men were living in an apartment within a few miles of the base and working at a local restaurant.

Kenton County jail officials confirmed the men are being held in the Covington facility, which has been used to house INS detainees in the past. Although INS officials said the four were arrested on Monday, Deputy Jailer Col. Rodney Ballard said they had been in jail since Friday night.

The men being held at the jail are Sayfitnin Mulloer, 32; Kahranan Pultov, 26; Sanjar Yormuhamdov, 29; and Zohirjon Zahidon, 40.

Addresses for the four were not available, although officials confirmed they were from Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation that shares an 85-mile-long border with Afghanistan. A former Soviet republic that has been the site of a 10-year war on Islamic fundamentalism, Uzbekistan pledged its support to the U.S.-led fight against terrorism after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com

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