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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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raina5000 December 28 2013 at 4:48 AM

ALL U WANTING THIS MAN TO SERVE TIME ARE ONLY PREPARING UR ON SELF A DISSERVIE WHEN THEY NOCK ON UR DOOR N SET U UP CAUSE SOME ONE REPORTED U

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gregoryf323 December 28 2013 at 2:45 AM

i would bet the shiek he was to meet is still in mexico.

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lunarstruck December 28 2013 at 2:41 AM

Don't tell me - he's another illegal immigrant Obama missed with our promised border fence?

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1 reply to lunarstruck's comment
Lord Agememnom December 28 2013 at 3:50 AM

I don't know of many Vietnamese who come in from Canada or Mexico.

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prawn259 December 28 2013 at 12:40 AM

It would've been funnier to let him go, then arrest him when he comes back.

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masmanz December 28 2013 at 12:38 AM

He did not connect with Al-Quaida he connected with an FBI agent posing as Al-Queda. The judge should not have accepted the plea bargain and forced the prosecutors to show some evidence.

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yuk December 27 2013 at 10:48 PM

history could take its course without ...

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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.

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dan_crabtree December 27 2013 at 8:30 PM

yet another far left wack job...

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3 replies to dan_crabtree's comment
donstillings December 27 2013 at 8:15 PM

Him beau coup dinky dau.

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