A San Joaquin County community college student arrested near the Canadian border for allegedly attempting to travel to Syria to fight with al Qaeda had boasted of a plot to bomb the subway in Los Angeles, according to a federal affidavit.
Nicholas Teausant, 20, of Acampo, near Lodi, Calif., was arrested early Monday as the bus he was on neared the U.S.-Canadian border in Blaine, Wash. He was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Federal authorities outlined in the affidavit extensive exchanges between an undercover FBI agent and Teausant, in which Teausant allegedly detailed his desire to travel to the Middle East to fight with Islamic extremists and to harm the United States. Teausant had enrolled as a trainee with the U.S. Army National Guard but never entered basic training because he lacked the minimum qualifications, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said Teausant first came to the attention of authorities in early 2013 through social media sites, including Instagram, and the ask.fm forum, where he allegedly posted statements such as: “I despise america and want its down fall,” and inquired where he could obtain a how-to guide for terrorists acts.
When a source working with the FBI befriended Teausant last fall, he told the source “his goal was maximum fear and a maximum blow to the U.S. government so he could watch it tumble and fall in the wake of a civil war,” according to the affidavit.
In December, he texted the source asking how he could obtain fireworks from Chinatown, according to the affidavit. He then allegedly wrote via text message: “Don’t go to LA Anytime soo[n] … Please trust me on this...and if you do go don’t use the subway.” That day, Teausant told the source over the phone that he and a group of people had discussed “hitting” the Los Angeles subway on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, authorities alleged in the affidavit.
The Sacramento-based FBI agent who wrote the affidavit said in a footnote: “While not well known, there is a subway/rail system in Los Angeles.”
Teausant later said the plot had been called off because authorities had been tipped off, according to the affidavit.
Teausant was scheduled to appear at a federal court in Washington on Monday afternoon. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said.