Texas man pleads guilty to attempt to join ISIS
A 23-year-old Texas man admitted Friday that he had been practicing military maneuvers and planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS, the terror group that has claimed thousands of lives in a violent march through Iraq in recent weeks.
Michael Wolfe, a.k.a. Faruq, of Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, according to a statement issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Antonio.
He was arrested 10 days ago when he tried to board a flight out of Houston. Another man, 23-year-old Rahatul Ashikim Khan, was arrested the same day at his house in Round Rock, Texas, and was charged with trying to recruit men to join terrorist organizations, federal authorities said.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office would not say if Khan attempted to recruit Wolfe specifically.
During his court appearance Friday, Wolfe admitted he launched the plot to join ISIS in August 2013. In the last year, Wolfe said he did physical fitness training, practiced military maneuvers and tried to cover up communications about his plans to engage in a “violent jihad,” the release said.
Wolfe traveled to Houston on June 17 and planned to take several flights, eventually hoping to land in Syria, where he would join ISIS’ armed conflict. But the man he purchased the plane tickets from was an undercover FBI agent.
Wolfe will stay in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled.
Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, told the Los Angeles Times Khan has entered a plea of not guilty, and a detention hearing has been scheduled for June 30.
He remains in federal custody, and jury selection for hsi criminal trial is expected to begin on August 25, Fields said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an Al Qaeda splinter group better known as ISIS, has captured several cities in Iraq this month during a bloody march toward Baghdad. The uprising, in part, has been driven by accusations that the sitting Iraqi government has been overly partial to the country’s Shiite population.
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