Twenty-year-old Nicholas Teausant of Acampo, Calif., was on his way to Syria to join an al-Qaeda splinter group, prosecutors said. He is also accused of plotting to bomb the L.A. subway. (Reuters)


Federal prosecutors announced Monday that a 20-year-old man from California had been arrested and charged with trying to provide aid “to a foreign terrorist organization.” They also alleged that the man said he was part of a group that discussed attacking the Los Angeles subway system.

The man was identified as Nicholas Teausant, 20, of Acampo, Calif., by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. He was arrested early Monday morning in Washington state near the border between Canada and the United States while attempting to travel into Canada and on to Syria, authorities said.

He has allegedly wanted to go to Syria and fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday in California. The militants from this group were described by Secretary of State John F. Kerry as “the most dangerous players” in the region earlier this year.

Teausant also allegedly told a source (who was working with the FBI) that last year, he was with a group of people who discussed attacking the Los Angeles subway system on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, according to the complaint. When this source asked Teausant what had happened, Teausant allegedly said the plan was called off after an unspecified “they” were tipped off about the idea.

While he is a reservist with the National Guard, the complaint notes that he is in the process of being released by the National Guard (something that was happening last December, though he hasn’t been released yet).

If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He is expected to make his first appearance in a Washington state federal court at 2 p.m. (local time).