Student Arrested For Plot To Bomb L.A. Subway Pleads Guilty
A 22-year-old college student arrested for allegedly talking about plans to bomb the L.A. subway system has pleaded guilty to charges of federal terrorism.
Nicholas Teausant, 22, was charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, according to the L.A. Times. Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said that this case "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." Teausant faces 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He next appears in court on March 8.
Teausant initially pleaded not guilty, but prosecutors and public defenders have been discussing a possible plea deal that would avoid a trial for several months, the Sacramento Bee reports.
He was arrested in Blaine, Wash. in March of 2014 as he was allegedly attempting to enter Canada in order to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS.
Prior to his arrest, an Instagram account under the username "Assad Teausant bigolsmurf" believed to be linked to Teausant posted comments about wanting to "join Allah's army." Teausant ultimately made friends with an FBI informant who acted as though he was a radical Islamist.
Teausant is accused of telling the source about plans to bomb the L.A. Metro system, and texting the informant: "Don't go to LA Anytime soo Akhi Please trust me on this...and if you do go don't use the subway." This attack was supposedly going to occur near New Year's, but the plot was cancelled because Teausant said he feared someone had tipped off the FBI. He also allegedly told the source that he would kill his mother, whom he loved, if she got in the way of his plans. He also expressed an interest in blowing up his own daughter's day care center, calling it a "Zionist reform church."
The informant eventually introduced Teausant to someone whom he claimed was his "mentor," and the mentor convinced Teausant to travel to Canada via Amtrak.
Teausant was found mentally competent to stand trial in December, after being previously found not competent to stand trial. His lawyers have argued that he couldn't have carried out any of this threats, and Teausant told the Sacramento Bee in an interview via jail in August of 2014 that he wouldn't have ever done anything if the informant hadn't contacted him.
"I'm not going to say that I'm completely innocent and I have no fault in this. Some of it is my fault, yes. But then again I also feel that if the informant hadn't come along I would have just been making idle boasts and I wouldn't have done anything," he said.
He claimed not to remember talking about bombing the L.A. subway system, and that he told the source that he would only attack the day care center when no one was there. He said he just wanted to "go home, back to my books and my daughter and my family."
Teausant is originally from Acampo, Calif. and attended San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton, Calif.