Jury Finds Police Officer Guilty of Trying to Assist Islamic State

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – The first police officer the United States has ever charged with providing material support to the Islamic State group was found guilty by a federal jury on Monday.

Jurors deliberated just under four hours in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. before finding Nicholas Young guilty of providing material support to a terrorist organization, and of two counts of obstruction of justice.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema dismissed a third charge of obstruction of justice.

Young , who worked for the Metro Transit Police Department in Washington, D.C., was arrested in Aug. 2016.

He accused of purchasing technology-related items to send to the ISIS operatives so they could evade authorities when contacting one another.

But instead of speaking to members of the Islamic State group, prosecutors say, Young was actually in touch with FBI informants and agents with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington.

The police officer was arrested after he gave $245 worth of gift cards to one of those informants.

The FBI first contacted Young in 2010 while investigating his acquaintance, Zachary Chesser. Chesser was later convicted of attempting to join an al-Qaeda offshoot and for threatening Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park.

Young stayed under FBI surveillance through 2016. During that time, prosecutors say Young once told undercover officers he wanted to throw his enemies into the bottom of a lake with their heads encased in cinderblock. To other informants, prosecutors say, he joked of sneaking weapons into the very courthouse he would eventually stand trial in. He also joked about torturing and killing FBI agents, prosecutors said.

Two trips to Libya also set off warning bells for the FBI. Young claimed he went to help Libyans fight a civil war and oust then leader, Muammar Gaddafi. But as he returned to the U.S. in 2012, two FBI agents met him at the airport.

The Justice Department considered arresting him at the time, but decided against it.

In 2014, a man named Mohammad approached Young and quickly befriended him. Young claims Mohammad asked for gift cards, used to make phone calls, or buy data for text messages, so he could communicate with his family overseas.

Prosecutors claimed Young knew exactly what the cards were for: connecting ISIS fighters, not estranged family members.

Young will be sentenced on Feb 23, 2018.


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