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California Man Pleads Guilty to Terror Count

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A California man who used the Internet and Facebook to connect with al-Quaida pleaded guilty Friday to a federal terrorism charge after admitting he attempted to assist al-Qaida by providing weapons training, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, 24, of Garden Grove unexpectedly entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter, who scheduled sentencing for March 21, prosecutors said in a statement. Reporters were not notified of his court appearance and were not present.

Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen,

Nguyen faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.

Nguyen's lawyer, Yasmin Cader, refused to comment on his decision, quickly hanging up the phone on a reporter, and U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said prosecutors also would have no comment.

The judge who accepted the plea previously had expressed skepticism about whether Nguyen had any special skills to offer al-Quaida.

Nguyen had confessed to federal agents after he was unmasked by an undercover FBI agent posing as a recruiter for the terrorist group.

He said that he planned to offer himself as a trainer of some 30 al-Qaida forces to ambush troops in Syria, where he had already spent five months fighting with rebels, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Heinz said after his arrest in October. She said he underwent 50 hours of interrogation during which he confessed to his plan.

Nguyen's admission was contained in a plea agreement filed in federal court, according to a U.S. attorney's press release issued after the plea was entered and accepted.

"Nguyen admitted that approximately one year ago he traveled to Syria where he joined opposition forces," the statement said. "Using a social network site during a four-month period he was in Syria, Nguyen told people that he was fighting against the Assad regime and that he had had a `confirmed kill.'"

Nguyen returned to the U.S., where he told associates that he had offered to train al-Qaida forces in Syria but was turned down, the U.S. attorney's office said.

At a hearing last fall, Judge Walter asked Heinz what Nguyen had to offer the terrorist group and she said, "He was providing himself."

The judge noted that Nguyen was never a member of the U.S. armed forces, having been rejected because of a hearing problem.

"I don't see evidence that this defendant had any particular skill in firearms," he said, "or that he had the ability to procure or deliver weapons. ... This is the part of the case that escapes me."

It was not immediately known what changed his mind between then and the entry of the plea.

Prosecutors said that between Aug. 3 and Oct. 11 Nguyen met with a man he thought was an al-Qaida recruiter but who actually was working for the FBI, telling him about what he'd done in Syria and saying he wanted to return to jihad.

On Oct. 1, Nguyen purchased a ticket for travel from Mexico to Pakistan and he was arrested by FBI agents on Oct. 11 as he was about to board a bus from Santa Ana, Calif., to Mexico. He had been told he would be meeting "his sheik" in Peshawar, the prosecutor had said.

When he was arrested, authorities said he exclaimed, "How did you guys find out?"

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Ripper December 27 2013 at 8:08 PM

OMG, is this guy that stupid, REALLY!?!? He tried using facebook to contact a major terrorist group. Was he too stupid to realize everyone can see what is going on with social networks now. All this stuff is monitored one way or another. Either by citizens who call the authorities or certain government agencies have watch dog groups now. With the Patriot Act, everything is now recorded, internet, cell phone and texts. Are the terrorists hiring people with the lowest I.Q. now. Probably so they can get idiots to go out and blow themselves up for imaginary women in the afterlife....rofl

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1 reply
ceribon Ripper December 27 2013 at 8:40 PM

THE ISSUE HERE IS ONE MAN WHO SAYS HE FOUGHT AGAINST SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES, ISN'T THIS WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT WAS THREATENING TO DO. IT APPEARS THAT THIS MAN IS FULL OFFEELINGS OF GRANDEUR SAYING HE WANTS TO TRAIN 3O AL QUIDA GROUPS TO FIGHT IN SYRIA. NOT A REAL POSSIBILITY, BUT HE COULD BE DANGEROUS. MY QUESTION IN THE YEAR OF DEFICIT REDUCTION IS HOW MUCH MONEY AND MAN POWER WERE USED TO INTERCEPT SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO USE FACEBOOK TO CONTACT TERRORIST GROUPS. THE SECOND QUESTION IS HOW MANY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ARE BEING SPENT TO FIND AND JAIL PEOPLE LIKE THIS !

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Imam December 27 2013 at 8:54 PM

When he was arrested, authorities said he exclaimed, "How did you guys find out?"



Really?!

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paddleman1928 December 27 2013 at 8:43 PM

he really is too stupid to be left loose on the streets. Prison IS the best he can do.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
potero1 December 27 2013 at 5:40 PM

It is bad enough we have all this violence in our own country to have one in our country join forces that are killing and maiming our soldiers. He deserves to go to prison even if he was not fighting in the U.S. We have violence everywhere and we In the U.S. are not shielded from it. I am glad he was caught, but I still wonder what special skills he had and how he would provide weapons. I think he might have been a want to be and got caught up in the action. Paul D. Otero, BTH, BSW, MSW, LCSW

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BARKINGwolf December 27 2013 at 5:47 PM

Sounds to me like he has a few mental screws loose. Just another "wannabe" crying out for attention.

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BOB December 27 2013 at 5:53 PM

Give the max.

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1 reply
ranger197172 BOB December 27 2013 at 6:15 PM

And deport after he serves his time.

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topspin360 December 27 2013 at 5:54 PM

Is this a mental health court where he was convicted? This guy sounds like he's delusional and the court is handling him as a psycho. He probably plays video war games and thinks that qualifies him as a mercenary.

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kimcrdr December 27 2013 at 5:12 PM

15 years is not near long enough for scum like this, He openly admitted to doing this, that should be a life sentence, his type doesn't need to ever be free!!

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1 reply
stronghart kimcrdr December 27 2013 at 5:36 PM

and u do?

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1 reply
ranger197172 stronghart December 27 2013 at 6:17 PM

And what have you done to support your country ?

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dennmin4 December 27 2013 at 5:54 PM

SUPPOSE I know a man has just committed murder, and I give him $50 for a bus ticket - I have just committed a felony. According to that judge, I can apparently steal $500,000 and give it all to al-Quaida, and all I'm guilty of is that theft.

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1 reply
RockNHula dennmin4 December 27 2013 at 6:04 PM

denn-You are not guilty of theft, just like an undercover policeman cannot be found guilty of lying to the suspects as to who he be.

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Spoonercat December 27 2013 at 5:15 PM

Firing Squad in public would be m suggestion.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
stronghart Spoonercat December 27 2013 at 5:36 PM

**** you

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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