Former National Guard enlisted American student Nicholas Michael Teausant pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization–namely, ISIS.
Teausant, now 22, was caught in 2014 trying to cross the U.S. northern border into Canada at Blaine, Washington with the intent of traveling on to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS.
“Nicholas Michael Teausant attempted to travel overseas to join ISIL and to provide material support to the terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General Carlin said on Tuesday.
Teausant is an American convert to Islam. In 2012 he enlisted, though never served, in the U.S. National Guard, according to a March 2014 Reuters report. As of December 2013 he was being processed for release for not meeting minimum qualifications.
Teausant allegedly wrote, “Lol I been part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”
“My designs have me staying there and being on every news station in the world,” Teausant told an FBI informant in February 2014 according to the criminal complaint detailed in Reuters the following month.
“I’m going to be a commander and I’m going to be on the front of every single newspaper in the country,” he said, according to the complaint. “Like I want my face on FBI’s top 12 most wanted. Because that means I’m doing something right.”
He maintained his innocence in a jailhouse interview with the Sacramento Bee in 2014:
At one point, according to prosecutors, Teausant had hoped to target the Los Angeles subway on New Year’s Eve or Day. The complaint explained that he eventually pulled out under fear of being caught.
“This case, like others in communities across the United States and around the world, is an example of how a young person from any place and any background might make the terrible decision to try and become part of a terrorist organization,” U.S. Attorney Wagner stated.
United States District Judge John A. Mendez is scheduled to sentence the admitted terrorist supporter in March 2016. Teausant faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his crimes.
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