Russian Immigrant Wanted by the FBI Suspected of Hiding as a Truck Driver
Hamilton County, OH – A Russian immigrant wanted by the FBI after he failed to turn himself in to federal authorities last month is suspected to be hiding and working within the trucking industry.
According to the FBI, Izmir Ali Koch, 34, failed to self-surrender to federal authorities in August per the terms of his release agreement.
In December 2018, Koch was convicted of a federal hate crime and making a false statement to the FBI, stemming from an anti-Semitic attack outside of a restaurant in Hamilton County.
In a sentencing hearing in July of this year, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott allowed Koch to self-surrender, against the urging of prosecutors.
She ordered Koch to report for a sentence of 30 months in a West Virginia federal prison beginning August 16.
However, Koch did not show and has not made contact with officials.
The assault occurred on February 4, 2017, outside of the Mirage Mediterranean Restaurant in Symmes Township.
According to court records, Koch was heard yelling, “I want to kill all of the Jews” and “I want to stab the Jews,” in the moments leading up to the attack.
Koch then yelled out to a nearby crowd of people and asked if anyone was Jewish.
A man answered back saying he was.
According to witnesses, Koch and his friends then attacked the man, punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground.
Court documents indicate the victim “saw a heel coming at (his) face as he lay on the pavement, while his fiancée screamed.”
Koch and others continued the attack, punching and kicking the victim until onlookers came to the victim’s aid and were able to stop the assault.
Another person picked up the victim and told him to run “before they kill you,” documents say.
The victim suffered numerous fractures, contusions and other physical injuries.
Turns out, the victim was not Jewish, though he said he was.
He was with family members at the time who are Jewish.
As for Koch, he is an Ahiska Turk and obtained Russian citizenship while living in Uzbekistan before coming to the U.S. as a refugee, according to the FBI.
He resided in Huber Heights, OH at the time of the 2017 attack.
He has ties to Rostov, Russia and frequently travels to Istanbul, Turkey, according to FBI officials.
According to court records, Koch has been caught personally transporting large amounts of cash overseas.
In 2016, for example, Koch was stopped at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with $108,000 in cash.
Koch explained he was transporting money back and forth to Russia to buy vehicles, according to court documents.
FBI officials say Koch may be evading authorities by hiding within the “Russian or Turkish communities” within the U.S.
He can speak English as well as a dialect of Turkish, officials say.
In a statement last week, the FBI says Koch is “familiar” with the trucking industry and is suspected to be working as a truck driver or dispatcher.
Further, officials say Koch should be considered armed and dangerous.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that will lead to Koch’s arrest.
Anyone with information about Koch’s location is asked to call the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office at (513) 421-4310.