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Man charged in Syria plot returning to California

Parents Had No Idea Son Could Be a Terrorist

GENE JOHNSON

SEATTLE (AP) - A man who prosecutors say spoke of bombing the Los Angeles subway system and joining Islamic extremists in Syria is returning to California to face a terrorism-related charge after his arrest near the Canadian border.

Nicholas Teausant, 20, of Acampo, Calif., an unincorporated area near Lodi, was taken off a northbound Amtrak bus in Washington state Sunday night just short of the border. A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Sacramento described him as a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton and a member of the National Guard who is being discharged for failing to meet basic academic requirements.

Beginning last spring, Teausant began expressing on his online photography account a desire to see America's downfall, saying "I would love to join Allah's army but I don't even know how to start," the complaint said.

Later, he took to another online forum to say he hoped to fight in Syria, the document states.

It wasn't immediately clear if Teausant had a lawyer in California. He was charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, based on his alleged attempt to travel to Syria, and he agreed during a hearing Monday at U.S. District Court in Seattle to be returned to Sacramento to face the charge.

Tall and lanky with closely shorn hair and a thin beard, Teausant appeared in court wearing a white T-shirt and tan pants. He sat hunched beside a lawyer appointed for that hearing only, answering "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am," to questions posed by Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler.

The complaint said he had discussed numerous other ideas for terrorist activity that never came to fruition, including a plot supposedly hatched during a camping trip with seven other people to bomb the Los Angeles subway system last New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

Investigators never corroborated that such a camping trip actually occurred. When an informant questioned Teausant on Jan. 4 about what happened to his plan, Teausant responded that it was canceled because "they" had been "tipped off," the complaint said.

The complaint said he had been planning since October to support the efforts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group that has been fighting in Syria's 3-year-old civil war and is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.

Investigators said Teausant discussed his scheme at length with a person who turned out to be a paid FBI informant, repeatedly affirming that he was serious about it.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a breakaway organization from al-Qaida that is considered one of the most brutal groups fighting in Syria's civil war, made up largely of non-Syrian Islamic militants. It has seized several areas in Syria as it fights the government of President Bashar Assad.

The complaint said Teausant referred to himself as a convert to Islam but did not give details about when or why he may have done so. He met the informant through a mutual acquaintance, the document said.

Among Teausant's plans was to appear in videos for the group, without covering his face - to be "the one white devil that leaves their face wide open to the camera," he was quoted in the complaint as saying.

The informant put Teausant in contact with a "mentor" - in reality, an undercover federal agent - who could purportedly approve his efforts to join the extremists. Early this month, the "mentor" blessed Teausant's travels, and he boarded a train for Seattle on Sunday night, the complaint said.

When the bus arrived in Blaine, just south of Vancouver, British Columbia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped it and questioned Teausant about where he was headed. He responded that he was traveling to Vancouver and was arrested, the complaint said.

The complaint said Teausant enlisted in the National Guard in April 2012 but never underwent basic training because he didn't meet academic requirements.

The complaint also states that Teausant told the informant he has an infant daughter and had arranged for his mother to get custody of the girl if he disappeared.

At one point, the informant questioned him about whether he was serious about his plans, given that he talked a lot but did not seem to follow through.

The maximum penalty for attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

___

Follow Johnson at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle


Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
LL March 18 2014 at 5:42 PM

As if we didn't have enough troubles in our lives and in this world, I don't understand how some find time and resources to create even more ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Newquest March 18 2014 at 9:29 PM

Lock him up!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
tbplayer44 March 18 2014 at 9:40 PM

Another 'entitled' kid who's Parents failed because, even now, they refuse to believe they raised a bad kid because they used money to shelter themselves from the truth.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
WEN March 18 2014 at 9:53 PM

We should make these converts to terrorism travel to their desired radical country and live for at least a year. They would quickly find out how good they had it here!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
homeinsulation WEN March 18 2014 at 10:20 PM

So true, that little white boy would be beheaded when the *********** don't believe he's a convert.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
m49lodinj6ft March 18 2014 at 10:19 PM

another KOOK!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
ggfraser921 m49lodinj6ft March 18 2014 at 10:26 PM

from san fran sicko

Flag Reply +2 rate up
What's Shakin T March 18 2014 at 10:23 PM

A nerdy looking little pissant---isn't he?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Sieben March 18 2014 at 4:10 PM

Aren't you glad now that our government is so vigilant? I am. These people that wish America harm are every where

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
Hank's Mom Sieben March 18 2014 at 4:14 PM

Stop personal advertising.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
septemberlynn March 18 2014 at 4:04 PM

Unreal.. it's scary how easily duped these people are. Getting involved with Syria.. people have no idea what's going on over there.. I think he should stay in prison for the rest of his life.. I wouldn't rust him God only knows what ideas these monsters planted in his head.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
elrod.porkmore septemberlynn March 18 2014 at 4:08 PM

I bet if you check, he voted for obama

Flag Reply +2 rate up
supermolar March 18 2014 at 10:40 PM

same shaped head as adam lanza?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Night hound March 18 2014 at 11:00 PM

Kill people who've never harmed you. That always seems to be the goal for fanatical creeps.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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