In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, an Iraqi living as a refugee in Bowling Green, Ky., is shown. Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, another Iraqi refugee, tried to send sniper rifles, Stinger missiles and money to al-Qaida operatives in their home country, and both boasted of using improvised explosives against American troops there before moving to the U.S., according to court documents unsealed Tuesday, May 31, 2011. The men were arrested after an investigation that began months after they arrived in the U.S. in 2009. Neither is charged with plotting attacks within the United States, and authorities said their weapons and money didn't make it to Iraq because of a tightly controlled undercover investigation. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service via The Courier-Journal)
It's a year and half long journey that is nearing the end.
Federal investigators arrested Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi on terrorism-related charges that included sending money, explosives, and stinger missiles to al-Qaida in May of 2011.
Both had already pleaded guilty to their charges, but Hammadi got life in prison, while Alwan got 40 years instead of life.
"That would've been the sentence the united states would've advocated for, but for his quick and useful cooperation to the government," said U.S. Attorney David Hale.
Alwan's case was relatively smooth, but Hammadi's was longer and involved more questioning.
The defense used lengthy questioning to try to highlight Hammadi's troubled childhood and his need for money here in the U.S. as his reasons for helping Alwan.
The united states argued otherwise citing evidence showing Hammadi's terrorist like actions and intentions.
Hammadi's attorney pleaded for a lesser sentence, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell ruled otherwise.
"The court just considered all the facts, and gave a sentence that the judge thought was appropriate. He's always very respectful, and very conscientious. You have to respect his judgment. It's just a harsh sentence for a 24-year-old," said Hammadi's attorney James Earhart.
This was a federal investigation in Bowling Green that lasted several months, and Bowling Green police actually assisted in the investigation.
"In this case we provided some intelligence information as well as some logistical information. The day of arrest, we were a base of operation for the FBI," said Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins.
The United States, with the help of a confidential informant, gathered lots of information showing ties to terrorism that helped the Judge Russell make his decision for both of them.
Alwan's attorney had no comment on the sentencing, but as part of his plea agreement he cannot appeal his 40-year sentence.
However, Hammadi can and his attorney, James Earhart says he likely will appeal the Judge's sentencing.