California Man Gets 13 Years for Attempting to Help Al-Qaeda
A California man who reached out to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan in an attempt to help train terrorist fighters has been sentenced to 13 years in federal prison followed by ten years of supervised release.
The man, identified as 25-year-old Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Garden Grove, used Facebook and "other internet communications" to contact Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press. Nguyen pleaded guilty late last year to a single count of attempting to assist a known terrorist organization.
Nguyen met with an FBI informant, whom he believed was an al-Qaeda recruiter, several times between August and October of 2013, according to the report. He told the undercover agent he was "born to wage jihad" and agreed to travel to Pakistan to help train 30 al-Qaeda fighters in the region.
Authorities reportedly caught Nguyen at a bus station in Southern California, where he was attempting to board a bus to Mexico to ultimately travel to Pakistan. On his person were a fake passport and a hard drive containing nearly 200 weapons training videos.
Nguyen's defense attorneys attempted to show the man suffered from schizophrenia, and that he could not possibly offer much in the way of training expertise to terrorist fighters.
"He is not a skilled tactician," defense attorney Yasmin Cowder reportedly said during court proceedings.
Presiding U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter said during sentencing that he was not sure what would come of sentencing Nguyen to a lengthy prison sentence: "I simply do not understand how we can rehabilitate his commitment to die for his beliefs."