California man arrested on terror charges

By Leslie Holland

updated 5:28 PM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014


(CNN) -- A California man was arrested on terror charges early Monday morning near the Canadian border, according to the Department of Justice.

In a press release issued Monday, the DOJ said 20-year-old Nicholas Teausant was arrested in Blaine, Washington, and was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to the release, Teausant traveled to the Canadian border with the intent of continuing on to Syria to join the terrorist organization known as al Qaeda in Iraq.

On Teausant's Facebook page, he goes by a second, Arabic, name, Ased abdur-Raheem.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI, Teausant is a student at a community college in Stockton, California, and is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, though he is in the process of being released by the Guard for not meeting the minimum qualifications.

The arrest and charging of Teausant are the result of a joint investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Modesto, California, Police Department, along with the San Joaquin Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to the DOJ.

According to the FBI's affidavit, Teausant used Instagram and other social media sites to connect with Islamic extremists and to express his desire to conduct violent jihad and "to be a part of America's 'downfall'"

In one communication, Teausant detailed his ideas to bomb several public places in the United States, including the day care his infant daughter attends, calling it a "Zionist reform church."

Teausant's communications with extremists and undercover FBI agents continued online and in person for about six months, ending in his arrest on Monday.

Teausant was expected to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon in Washington.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

From CNN's Chuck Johnston