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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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U.S. Air Force Veteran Charged For Attempting To Join Islamic State

U.S. Air Force veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was caught trying to join the Islamimc State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to reports confirmed by authorities investigating the case.

On Monday, a grand jury in Brooklyn indicted Pugh and charged him with attempting to provide material support to a terror organization and obstruction of justice. Pugh was arrested on January 16 this year and will be arraigned on Wednesday. 

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According to the indictment, Pugh worked as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait but was fired in December last year. After the incident, he flew from Egypt to Turkey by January 10 to cross the Syrian border and supposedly join the ISIS militants.

However, the Turkish authorities sent him back to Egypt and was then deported from the country to the U.S. five days after.

After his arrest, authorities found in his mobile phone a snap of a machine gun. This led them to investigate and subsequently find out that he was looking at the borders and crossing points that was seized by the ISIS.

His online searches also showed videos of the executions posted by the ISIS on their social media accounts. Aside from that, Pugh has also been posting statuses on his social media accounts pointing out that he does not want to come back to the U.S. anymore despite having a family in the country.

Pugh's last address recorded was in Neptune, New Jersey but there is no other available information as to the whereabouts of his family.

Pugh served the Air Force from 1986 to 1990 and he worked as an avionics instrument specialist. He was trained to install and maintain aircraft engine, weapons system, and know all about navigation.

After he left the Air Force, he worked for aviation companies in the U.S.

According to the Center on National Security of Fordham Law School, this is not the first time that an American has been charged of trying to join the ISIS militants. Pugh is the 24th to be indicted but there were already over 130 Americans who tried to travel to Syria.

However, Pugh is the first U.S. veteran to have been charged with this attempt. If proven guilty, he could be jailed for up to 35 years. 

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