It was bound to happen sooner or later. The first law enforcement officer has been charged in a terrorist sting operation.
Authorities on Wednesday arrested a Metro Transit Police Department officer on suspicion of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The police officer, Nicholas Young, 36, of Fairfax, Virginia, has been fired, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told the Associated Press.
Young is accused of buying gift cards for mobile messaging accounts Islamic terrorist groups used in recruiting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern Division of Virginia said in a statement.
“According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on July 18, 2016, Young communicated with whom he believed to be CHS regarding purchasing of gift cards for mobile messaging accounts ISIL uses in recruiting. On July 28, 2016, Young sent 22 sixteen digit gift card codes to the FBI undercover with a message that stated: “Respond to verify receipt . . . may not answer depending on when as this device will be destroyed after all are sent to prevent the data being possibly seen on this end in the case of something unfortunate.” The codes were ultimately redeemed by the FBI for $245,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a press release.
Young faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted.
Young has been a Metro Transit police officer since 2003. He was first interview by law enforcement in 2010 because of his connection to Zachary Chesser, who later pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists. He’s also a known acquaintance of Amine El Khalifi, who pleaded guilty to attempting a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol Building in 2012.
“In 2014, Young met on about 20 separate occasions with an FBI confidential human source (CHS) posing as a U.S. military reservist of Middle Eastern descent who was becoming more religious and eager to leave the U.S. military as a result of having had to fight against Muslims during his deployment to Iraq. During these conversations Young advised CHS on how to evade law enforcement detection by utilizing specific travel methods and advised CHS to watch out for informants and not discuss his plans with others,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Young reportedly told FBI agents that he traveled to Libya twice in 2011 and he had been with rebels attempting to overthrow the Moammar Gadhafi regime.
Searches found body armor, a Kevlar helmet, and several other military-style items when Young traveled, according to the affidavit.
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