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US veteran charged with attempt to join ISIS

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-18 09:35

WASHINGTON - A US Air Force veteran has been arrested for allegedly trying to join ISIS, a two-count indictment announced Tuesday.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, was arrested by the FBI two months ago in New Jersey after being deported back to the US.

Pugh flew from Egypt to Turkey in January in an attempt to slip into Syria and join ISIS and was declined to enter by Turkish authorities, according to the US Justice Department indictment.

After leaving the Air Force, Pugh has worked for a number of companies in the United States and Middle East as an avionics specialist and airplane mechanic. Weeks after being fired from his last job in the Middle East, Pugh attempted to join ISIS, the indictment said.

FBI agents discovered that Pugh had been viewing ISIS propaganda online using his laptop, and conducting online searches for phrases such as "border controlled by Islamic State", according to prosecutors. The FBI also recovered two of his backpacks, which allegedly contained two compasses, a solar- powered flashlight, a solar-powered power source, a fatigue jacket and camping clothes.

The US Justice Department said that Pugh was indicted by a grand jury this week on charges of trying to give material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice.

"Born and raised in the United States, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organization," said US Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York in a statement.

Pugh will plead not guilty on Wednesday, his attorney Michael Schneider said. However, if convicted at trial, he will face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

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