Former Soldier From Laurel Charged With Trying To Aid Terrorist Group
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A former soldier from Maryland is arrested on charges of terrorism. The young man is accused of trying to aid a dangerous terror group in Somalia.
Kai Jackson explains how the FBI nailed him.
Craig Baxam left Maryland as a veteran of the U.S. military. According to authorities, he returned as an extremist who planned to carry out acts of terrorism.
Prosecutors charged Baxam, 24, in federal court in Greenbelt on Monday. The former Army cryptologist is facing numerous charges. Among them, accusations he tried to help a terrorist group called al-Shabab.
“Mr. Baxam actually cashed in his retirement fund, got an airline ticket to Kenya, traveled to Kenya and then tried to take a bus into Somalia to join al-Shabab,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.
Authorities say Baxam left his Laurel home in December 2011 and headed to Kenya. Authorities say he secretly converted to Islam and came to sympathize with extremist groups after reading about them on the Internet. The FBI says Baxam admitted a willingness to commit violence.
Baxam was arrested by Kenya authorities suspicious of his activities. He was arrested by U.S. authorities when he returned to BWI Marshall Airport on Friday.
“So Mr. Baxam, by trying to join this foreign terrorist organization was, in fact, engaged in an act prohibited by the United States government. You cannot join a foreign terrorist group, whether it’s committing acts of violence here in the United States or overseas,” Rosenstein said.
Authorities say al-Shabab is a dangerous group known to battle legitimate governments in Africa.