A South Carolina teenager plead guilty to gun charges after officials say he plotted to attack a US military base in hopes of joining ISIS.
"It wasn't like some fantasy he was acting out and then was nothing to bear out," says 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. "This was a legitimate and sincere desire and effort on his part to accomplish these things."
The 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released, lived in York County but his family is originally from Syria.
Authorities said the investigation shows he was involved in "some radical Islamic activities" and associated with people in "radical Islamic groups." They say the teen had expressed some of these thoughts publicly for a while, but no one came forward.
He was sentenced to be held by the Department of Juvenile Justice and was to attend counseling.
Brackett says the teen, in court, said he had changed his ways and no long believed the ideas he held before, but Brackett is skeptical. He says the teen appeared to hold the ideas fairly closely when he was first interviewed about them.
Brackett said Abdin told the court he was troubled, that his father had died, and swore this was an isolated incident, adding he had just been confused. He promised they wouldn't hear from him again, Brackett said.
The judge sentenced Abdin to the maximum punishment, an indeterminate sentence that would keep him behind bars until his 21st birthday, Brackett said.
Abdin served time at the juvenile justice facility in Columbia but was paroled a few months ago, Brackett said. He said he and York Police Chief Andy Robinson had strong objections to Abdin's parole.
"Given nature of allegations and the incident here, and evidence I saw in 2015, I’m not terribly surprised. I always thought these beliefs were much more deeply rooted,” Brackett said. “I’m grateful that the federal authorities were keeping close tabs on him and able to intervene before anyone got hurt.”
An 18-year-old Ladson man appeared in federal court Friday following his arrest on charges he intended to join ISIS.
Zakaryia Abdin was arrested at the Charleston International Airport Thursday night, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Crick. Abdin was arrested by special agents of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force before he boarded an outbound flight.