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California man sentenced to 12 years for trying to join ISIS

A California man was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for trying to enter Canada so that he could eventually travel to the Mideast to help wage “holy war,” prosecutors said.

After completing his federal prison term, Nicholas Teausant, 22, of Acampo, Calif., will be placed on 25 years of supervised release, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento.

Teausant, a former student at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, pleaded guilty in December to attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

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According to prosecutors, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez condemned Teausant’s actions, saying, “Terrorism has to become a zero-tolerance crime.”

“There is no margin for error,” he said during sentencing. “It is the court’s responsibility to fashion a sentence to reduce any risk you might pose in the future.”

Acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert described Teausant as being “fixated with violence.”

“His conduct was misguided and unacceptable,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

Teausant was arrested March 17, 2014, in Blaine, Wash., where he tried to cross into Canada, according to a 23-page affidavit. Federal officials said Teausant planned to join Islamic State.

A paid FBI informant who posed as a radical Islamist befriended Teausant and learned that he had been looking for ways to support and provide materials to terrorist organizations, the affidavit states.

He made his interests known on social media, even posting comments under an alias on Instagram, authorities said.

“Don’t get me wrong I despise america and want its downfall but yeah haha,” Teausant wrote. “I been part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”

Teausant had enlisted with the National Guard, but failed to maintain the academic qualifications necessary to attend basic training, according to authorities.

According to the affidavit, Teausant told a confidential source that he and friends talked about “hitting” the subway in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. But authorities said the plot was canceled due to security concerns and fears that the FBI had identified and arrested someone.

Later, during a meeting with the source and an undercover law enforcement officer, Teausant insisted he wanted to fight and that he wanted to join the “brothers” abroad.

In court documents, Teausant’s attorney Heather Williams argued for leniency, saying the guideline sentence of 15 years sentence was too harsh.

“Nick Teausant was an experiment for the Government,” she said in a sentencing memorandum. “The Government knew that all of Nick’s statements were worth nothing if he did not commit an act that would qualify as an attempt to commit a crime.”

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