U.S. Air Force veteran and former avionics specialist Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, who also received training in the U.S. weapons systems, traveled from Egypt to Turkey in his attempt to cross the border to Syria to join ISIS.
Pugh will be prosecuted for attempting to provide material support to ISIS, along with obstruction and attempted obstruction of justice as per indictment set by a federal grand jury in New York City. His arraignment will start on March 18, 11am, before U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York, the FBI said in an announcement.
Trying to join ISIS
According to the court filings, Pugh, an American citizen, served in the Air Force as an avionics instrument system specialist. He underwent training in the installation and maintenance of aircraft engine, navigation and weapon systems, the documents stated.
Pugh worked for several U.S. companies after leaving the military. On Jan 10, 2015, Turkish authorities stopped him from traveling to Turkey from Egypt.
Pugh was trying to cross the border into Syria. Turkish officials denied him entry to the country and sent him back to Egypt, where officials found him in possession of electronic devices including four USB thumb drives and an iPod obviously cleared off any data. His mobile phone also had a picture of a machine gun, the court papers said.
He was deported to the U.S. from Egypt.
On Jan 14, 2015, in pursuance to a search warrant, FBI agents ransacked Pugh’s laptop and found proofs of his attempt to cross the border into Syria. Officials found out that Pugh had been browsing the internet using terms such as “borders controlled by Islamic State,” “who controls kobani,” “kobani border crossing,” and “jarablus border crossing.” These search terms are all references to Syrian cities under ISIS control, court filings stated.
He had also been searching for “Flames of War,” ISIS propaganda videos and downloaded execution videos. The laptop also contains a chart of crossing points between Turkey and Syria.
Pugh was arrested on January 16 in Asbury Park, New Jersey and has been in custody ever since. He will be serving a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison if found guilty of charges.
“The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” the FBI said in a statement.
U.S.-led coalition continues with airstrikes against the ISIS in Syria, Iraq
U.S.-led coalition military forces has continued to attack ISIS in Syria and Iraq, according to the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. The airstrikes were conducted from March 16, 8am, until March 17, 8am. The airstrikes were conducted with fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft.
The coalition conducting airstrikes in Iraq is made up of the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, are conducting airstrikes in Syria.