Nicholas Teausant to face terrorism-related charge in California
20-year-old wanted to join 'Allah's army,' criminal complaint alleges
A man who prosecutors say spoke of bombing the Los Angeles subway system and joining Islamic extremists in Syria is returning to California to face a terrorism-related charge after his arrest near the Canadian border.
Nicholas Teausant, 20, was taken off a bus Sunday night just short of the border. A criminal complaint filed in federal court described him as a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College and a member of the National Guard who is being discharged for failing to meet basic academic requirements.
Beginning last spring, Teausant began expressing on his online photography account a desire to see America's downfall, saying "I would love to join Allah's army but I don't even know how to start," the complaint said.
Later, he took to another online forum to say he hoped to fight in Syria, the document states.
It wasn't immediately clear if Teausant had a lawyer in California. He was charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, based on his alleged attempt to travel to Syria, and he agreed during a hearing Monday at U.S. District Court in Seattle to be returned to Sacramento to face the charge.
The complaint said he had discussed numerous other ideas for terrorist activity that never came to fruition, including a plot supposedly hatched during a camping trip with seven other people to bomb the Los Angeles subway system last New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.
The complaint said he had been planning since October to support the efforts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group that has been fighting in Syria's three-year-old civil war and is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.
Investigators said Teausant discussed his scheme at length with a person who turned out to be a paid FBI informant, repeatedly affirming that he was serious about it.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a breakaway organization from al-Qaeda that is considered one of the most brutal groups fighting in Syria's civil war, made up largely of non-Syrian Islamic militants. It has seized several areas in Syria as it fights the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The maximum penalty for attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 US fine.