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Air Force Veteran Busted For Trying To Fight For ISIS

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force has been nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, a New Jersey man, apparently was motivated to join the cause and “fight violent jihad” after watching ISIS propaganda videos over the internet, Air Force Times reports. He was arrested two months ago. On Jan. 10, he tried to plan an indirect flight route to Syria. Pugh figured that flying from Egypt to Turkey and then crossing the border would be enough to shake off law enforcement. But once Pugh reached Turkey, his plan fell apart. Turkish border agents refused to let him cross into the country.

Egypt then stepped in and deported Pugh back to the United States, where the FBI was waiting to arrest him. Federal agents searched through his electronic devices and found that he had watched “Flames of War,” a common propaganda video issued by ISIS to persuade new recruits to head overseas. Agents also found several interesting online searches in his browsing history: “borders controlled by Islamic State,” “kobani border crossing” and “who controls Kobani,” ABC News reports. He also stated on social media that he did not plan on returning to the United States.

Just a month before he attempted to join ISIS, Pugh was fired from his job as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait. At his job, he made use of the skills he had learned while in the U.S. Air Force, from 1986 to 1990.

On Monday, a grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, indicted the 47-year-old on two charges: materially supporting a terrorist group and obstruction of justice. For now, Pugh remains in custody. If he is convicted at trial, Pugh could face up to 35 years in prison.

According to ABC News, 30 people over the last year and a half have been caught, successfully or unsuccessfully, joining up with ISIS.

No one knows exactly how many Americans have managed to head overseas and fight for ISIS.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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