California man given 12 years for seeking to join ISIS

June 7, 2016  

A California man was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Tuesday for seeking to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) group and wage holy war, authorities said.

Nicholas Michael Teausant, a 22-year-old convert to Islam, had pleaded guilty in December to a charge of attempting to provide material support or resources to a terror group. He was arrested in March 2014 near the Canadian border, while en route to Syria to join the terror network.

Teausant allegedly told the FBI under interrogation that he wanted to go to Syria in the hope of becoming famous and “being on every news station in the world.”

His prison sentence will be followed by 25 years of supervised release.

“Terrorism has to become a zero-tolerance crime. There is no margin for error,” U.S. District Judge John Mendez said in imposing the sentence in Sacramento, California.

“It is the court’s responsibility to fashion a sentence to reduce any risk you might pose in the future.”

According to authorities, Teausant caught the attention of the FBI in 2013 after he joined online forums, expressing a desire to “conduct violent jihad and to be part of America’s downfall.”

In his subsequent dealings with an FBI informant, he spoke of a plot to attack the Los Angeles subway but later backed away from those plans.

Authorities said the case illustrates the vulnerability of young people who can fall prey to jihadist groups on the Internet.

It is yet another example of the dangerous phenomenon of radicalization that the United States and many other countries are dealing with.

Just last month, a New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid ISIS was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

American authorities over the past year or so have arrested and charged several people of supporting ISIS. 

Faisal Mohammad, a California college student who stabbed four people late last year was reported to have been carrying an image of the black flag of ISIS as well as a handwritten manifesto with instructions to behead a student and multiple reminders to pray to Allah.

AFP contributed to this report.

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