A federal judge sentenced Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, a U.S. citizen and former member of the U.S. Air Force, to 35 years in prison for attempting to help a terrorist group, ISIS.
Pugh, of Neptune, New Jersey, was convicted at trial on March 9, 2016.
“With this sentence, Tairod Pugh – an American citizen and former member of the U.S. Air Force where he served as an aircraft mechanic – is being held accountable for attempting to travel to Syria to provide material support to ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente.
“The defendant turned his back on his country, and the military he once served, to attempt to join a brutally violent terrorist organization committed to the slaughter of innocent people throughout the world and the destruction of our way of life. Today’s sentence sends a powerful message that those who support terrorist groups and seek to obstruct the efforts of our law enforcement community will be brought to justice,” stated Acting U.S. AttorneyBridget M. Rohde.
These are the allegations against Pugh:
- The defendant served in the Air Force as an avionics instrument system specialist and received training in the installation and maintenance of aircraft engine, navigation and weapons systems.
- After leaving the Air Force, the defendant worked for a number of companies in the United States and Middle East as an avionics specialist and airplane mechanic.
- The defendant lived abroad for over a year before his arrest in this case.
- Earlier this year, weeks after being fired from his last job as an airplane mechanic based in the Middle East, the defendant attempted to join ISIL.
- On Jan. 10, 2015, the defendant traveled from Egypt to Turkey in an effort to cross the border into Syria to join ISIL and fight violent jihad.
- Turkish authorities denied the defendant entry, however, and sent him on a return flight to Egypt.
- Upon his arrival in Egypt, the defendant was carrying multiple electronic devices, including four USB thumb drives that had been stripped of their plastic casings and an iPod that had been wiped clean of data.
- The defendant also had a cellular telephone that contained, among other things, a photograph of a machine gun.
- The defendant was deported to the United States.
On Jan. 14, 2015, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force or JTTF – which comprises a large number of federal, state, and local agencies from the region – agents obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s electronic devices.
Among the things discovered by authorities in his laptop computer, among other things, include the following:
Recent internet searches for “borders controlled by Islamic state”,
Recent internet searches for “who controls Kobani,” “Kobani” border crossing,” and “jarablus border crossing,” all references to Syrian cities under ISIS’s control near the Turkish border,
A chart of crossing points between Turkey and Syria indicating the areas on the Syrian side of the border controlled by ISIS and other groups
Internet searches for “Flames of War,” an ISIS propaganda video, as well as downloaded videos, including one showing ISIS members executing prisoners.
After the defendant’s arrest, officials said Task Force agents got warrants to search two backpacks that the defendant had when he was overseas.
Agents recovered from the backpacks, among other things: two compasses, a solar-powered flashlight, a solar-powered power source, shards of broken USB thumb drives, a fatigue jacket and camping clothes.Warning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Fair-force-veteran-sentenced-35-years-prison-trying-help-isis%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151