Former US Air Force mechanic charged with trying to join IS

Washington: A former US Air Force mechanic has been formally charged with trying to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Syria.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, served as an avionics and instrumentation specialist in the Air Force from 1986-1990, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

 Former US Air Force mechanic charged with trying to join IS

Representational image. Reuters image

He is facing charges of "attempting to provide material support" to a terrorist organisation and obstruction of justice for destroying evidence.

"Born and raised in the US, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organisation," President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta. E. Lynch said.

"We will continue to vigorously prosecute extremists, whether based here or abroad, to stop them before they are able to threaten the US and its allies," she added.

Legal documents in the case revealed that Pugh attempted to join the IS between May 2014 and January 12.

Authorities said that Pugh on January 10 flew from Egypt to Turkey to join the jihadis in Syria after losing his job as an aircraft mechanic in the Middle East.

Pugh was deported from Turkey to Egypt and then to the US, where he was arrested on January 16.

Before his arrest, Pugh tried to destroy four thumb drives which, investigators say, contained information regarding border crossing points between Syria and Turkey controlled by the IS and downloaded videos showing executions by that group.

If found guilty, Pugh could face up to 35 years in prison.


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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2015 10:31:56 IST

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