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US National Guardsman nabbed at Canadian border, trying to leave for Syria to join al-Qaida

SACRAMENTO – An American man who belonged to the US National Guard apparently felt that al-Qaida was a better fit for him, and was caught by border patrol agents as he embarked on a journey to join the terrorist outfit.

In the early hours of the morning, Nicholas Teausant, 20, of Acampo, Calif. was arrested near the Canadian border, in Blaine, Wash. He was charged today in a complaint containing a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the complaint, Teausant traveled to the Canadian border with the intent of continuing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a foreign terrorist organization more widely known as al-Qaida in Iraq.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Modesto Police Department and San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office, who are members of the Modesto/Stockton Joint Terrorism Task Force, with significant assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Assistant United States Attorneys Jean M. Hobler and Jason S. Hitt are prosecuting the case in conjunction with Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Teausant is expected to make his initial appearance today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at 2 p.m.

The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Teausant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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