Prosecutors have brought the first-ever terrorism charges against a law enforcement officer in the US, alleging that a patrol officer with the Washington DC region’s Metro Transit Police was caught buying $250 (€225) worth of cards for Islamic State (IS).
In July, Nicholas Young, who lives in Virginia, sent codes for gift cards worth $245 to an FBI informant. The gift cards were intended for mobile-messaging accounts IS uses to recruit its followers.
Mr Young believed the informant was an acquaintance of his who was working with IS, court records said.
Mr Young, 36, who had worked for the transit authority since 2003, had been on the radar of US law enforcement since 2010, according to an affidavit in the complaint filed in federal court in Virginia.
Joshua Stueve, spokesman for the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Young posed no threat to the Metro system. Court documents show Mr Young directed his efforts at seeking to help IS overseas.
FBI spokesman Andrew Ames confirmed that Mr Young is the first law enforcement officer to be charged under the federal government’s terrorism law.
Prosecutors said it was Metro Transit Police that initiated the investigation, and then worked co-operatively with the FBI.
Metro authorities said Mr Young was fired immediately after his arrest yesterday.
In 2014, he met several times with an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an eager recruit of IS, according to the affidavit, and advised the agent about how to evade law enforcement as he left the US to join the militant group.
“Metro transit police alerted the FBI about this individual and then worked with our federal partners throughout the investigation,” said Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld.
It was also reported that Mr Young travelled to Libya twice in 2011, where he said he joined rebels trying to oust Muammar Gaddafi.
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