College Student Arrested For Allegedly Plotting To Bomb L.A. Subways, Join Al-Qaida
A California college student was arrested on Monday at the Canadian border for allegedly plotting to bomb Los Angeles' Metro system and join an al-Qaida group in Syria.
A photo of Nicholas Teausant from his Instagram account
Nicholas Teausant, 20, was taken into custody early morning in Blaine, Wash. as he was crossing the border into Canada, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District Of California.
He was charged on Monday (through a 23-page federal criminal complaint) for attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The complaint accused Teausant of crossing the border with plans to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (a.k.a. al-Qaida in Iraq).
Teausant attended San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton, Calif. and was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, Justin Jacobs, a special agent of the FBI wrote in the affidavit. However, Jacob said the Teausant "did not meet the minimum qualifications to continue" (since he didn't have enough of the required academic credits) and received very little training. The National Guard was still in the process of releasing Teausant.
The suspicious behavior leading up to Teausant's arrest included an Instagram account (through the app Iphonegram) believed to be linked to the suspect, but under the username "Assad Teausant bigolsmurf." In one of the posts, it read: "don't get me wrong I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah's army but I don't even know how to start." He also asked where he could get the "Lone Mujahid Pocketbook" last August, which Jacobs described as "how-to guide for becoming a lone wolf terrorist" with info on bomb-making and training with an AK.
The FBI hired a paid confidential source to get close to Teausant, who had a number of meetings, phone calls and text message exchanges with the suspect. Back in October, Teausant told the informant that he wanted to go fight in Syria, but didn't know how to get there, according to the complaint.
Eventually, Teausant talked about his plans of bombing L.A.'s Metro system with the source. The suspect texted the informant last December, warning him: "Don't go to LA Anytime soo Akhi Please trust me on this...and if you do go don't use the subway." He also talked about a camping trip he was on with some friends, where they were discussing "hitting" L.A., especially the subways, around New Year's Eve or Day. However, Teausant told the source on Jan. 4 that he had to call off his bombing plans because someone had been tipped off about it.
What's even more chilling is that the complaint alleges that Teausant told the source that although he loved his mother, he would have to kill her (most likely shoot her in the head) if she jeopardized his plans.
The informant introduced Teausant to his "mentor," who eventually convinced the suspect to travel to the Canadian border through Amtrak, where he was arrested.
CBS Sacramento spoke to Teausant's mother about her son:
“He made bad choices, but he’s not a terrorist,” she said tearfully. “He’s not evil. He doesn’t do mean things at home. He doesn’t hurt people. I just believe he got mixed up in the wrong crowd.”
Teausant appeared in the U.S. District Court in Seattle for his hearing on Monday, but will go to Sacramento to face the charges, according to CBS Sacramento. If convicted, Teausant faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.