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California man arrested attempting to join terrorist group

Some federal charges are significantly more disturbing than others. In fact, in today's political environment, probably one of the most troubling federal charges a person can face is a federal terrorism charge. California readers may have heard about a California college student's recent arrest for federal crimes related to terrorism.

According to news reports, a 20-year-old community college student from Acampo, California, was arrested while attempting to cross the U.S./Canada border in Blaine, Washington. Authorities claim the young man intended to travel from Canada to the Middle East, where he planned to join the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. U.S. officials said the young man had also discussed committing an attack on the Los Angeles area subway system.

The charges follow a federal investigation into the young man that included him disclosing to a confidential source that he and friends intended to hit Los Angeles, specifically the subway, on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The plot was eventually cancelled after the student became worried that the mission's security had been compromised. The California student is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted he could face 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

With so much pressure from the public and politicians to protect the nation from terrorism, U.S. attorney's and federal investigators take allegations of federal crimes involving terrorism very seriously. As a result of the aggressive prosecution of federal crimes such as these, it is important that those who are accused of such crimes craft a sound criminal defense strategy. In the end, it is the only way to ensure that liberties are protected and rights are preserved.

Source: Lost Angeles Times, "California student held on terrorism charge linked to L.A. subway," Michael Muskal and Richard Winton, March 17, 2014

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