California man wanted to be 'famous' with ISIS

Muslim convert and National Guard enlistee pleads guilty of trying to cause America's 'downfall' and 'be on every newspaper in the world.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

ISIS terrorist (file)
ISIS terrorist (file)

A California man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to seeking to provide support to the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group in Syria, where he allegedly hoped to train fighters for the jihadist network.

Nicholas Michael Teausant, a 22-year-old convert to Islam, was arrested in March last year as he tried to cross into Canada by bus en route to Syria, where he planned to join ISIS, authorities said.

Detained as the result of an FBI sting operation, Teausant faces to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is to be sentenced on March 8.

Teausant enlisted with the California National Guard though he never actively served.

According to the indictment, he caught the attention of the FBI in 2013 after he joined online forums where he expressed a desire "to conduct violent jihad and to be part of America's 'downfall.'"

In his subsequent dealings with an FBI informant, he spoke of a plot to attack the Los Angeles subway but later backed away from those plans.

Teausant, who has an infant daughter, allegedly wanted to go to Syria in the hope of "being on every news station in the world."

"I'm going to be commander and I'm going to be on the front of every single newspaper in the country," he is quoted as telling the FBI informant.

Authorities said the case illustrates the vulnerability of young people who can fall prey to jihadist groups on the Internet.

"This case, like others in communities across the United States and around the world, is an example of how a young person from any place and any background might make the terrible decision to try and become part of a terrorist organization," Benjamin Wagner, the attorney representing the US, said in a statement.

In an interview with the Sacramento Bee from his jail cell in 2014, Teausant denied he would ever have launched attacks in the US.

His lawyers also argued that he posed no real threat. "In reality, Nick couldn't provide material support to a pup tent," they stated in court documents.

AFP contributed to this report.