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Former Mercer Island student arrested for intent to aid terrorist organization
A former Mercer Island High School student was stopped and arrested late Sunday night at the Canadian border at Blaine.
Nicholas Teausant, a community college student who was residing in Acampo, Calif., is accused of traveling to the Canadian border as part of a trip to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as al-Qaida in Iraq, one of the several groups aligned with the rebels fighting the Syrian regime, according to federal prosecutors in Sacramento.
Teausant was charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization Monday morning by the U.S. District Court of Eastern California. The FBI, Modesto Police Department and San Joaquin Sheriff's Office, with the help of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, investigated the case.
The Mercer Island School District confirmed that Teausant was a student during the 2009-10 school year. According to Teausant's social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, he is a father, Mercer Island native and Seahawks fan. His name on Twitter is listed as "Assad Teausant." He reportedly converted to Islam a few years ago, according to the criminal complaint, and has indicated terrorist sympathies on social media and in his blog.
The Seattle PI reported that undercover FBI agents and a confidential source working with the FBI befriended Teausant during the past year posing as fellow Muslims, according to court records. The confidential source struck up a friendship with Teausant and collected information on Teausant's wishes to fight the Assad regime in Syria and plot attacks on America.
Teausant appeared in U.S. District Court at 2 p.m. Monday, March 17 in Seattle. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted as charged.