L.A. Subway Was Target of Wannabe al-Qaeda Terrorist, Feds Say
Nicholas Teausant, a 20-year-old National Guard reservist, was arrested near the Canadian border in Washington after he allegedly plotted to aid al-Qaeda, travel to Syria for training and, most interestingly, attack the Los Angeles subway system, authorities said today.
It's not entirely clear if Teausant ever had contact with the group al-Qaeda in Iraq - he claimed to have exchanged letters with "brothers" in the Middle East - but he allegedly wanted to be a part of the organization's efforts, if prosecutors are to be believed.
The Central Valley man used social media to make his anti-American feelings known, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento said:
Feds say that Teausant, of Acampo, Calif., befriended an informant and confessed his desire to engage in terrorism against the United States.
He discussed with the informant obtaining "big loud" fireworks in connection with "hitting" the L.A. subway system, according to the criminal complaint in the case:
"Don't go to LA Anytime soon Akhi," he allegedly texted to the informant. "Please trust me on this...and if you do go don't use the subway."
Prosecutors allege he posted messages on iPhonegram and Instagram advocating the "down fall" of America. On May 31, feds say, he posted a message that read, in part:
... I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been part ofthe army for two years now and I would love to join Allah's army but I don't even know how to start.
Prosecutors also alleged he sought out and obtained a terrorists' guide known as the Lone Mujahid Pocketbook .
After Teausant purchased an Amtrak train ticket to head from Lodi to Washington state, agents say they stopped a bus in Blaine, Wash., at about 11:40 last night and arrested Teausant. They allege he was heading to Vancouver and that he eventually planned to go to Syria to train with al-Qaeda.
He was charged with one "count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization," the U.S. Attorney's Office stated.
Teausant faces 15 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine if he's convicted, authorities said.
The suspect was "did not meet the minimum qualifications to continue" with the National Guard and "was in the process of being released" from the service, prosecutors said in the criminal complaint.
[Added at 2 p.m.]: A spokesman for Metro said the system would have no comment, at least for now.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.