NEW YORK (CNN) – A United States Air Force Veteran from New Jersey was stopped in Turkey for allegedly trying to join ISIS in Syria, according to just-unsealed court documents.
47-year-old Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh flew from Egypt to Turkey to attempt to enter Syria on January 10th, according to federal authorities. However, Turkish officials stopped him at the airport.
Pugh, who served four years as an Air Force mechanic was carrying an iPod, four USB drives, and cell phone. The search of his laptop found evidence of “repeated internet searches” for information on “borders controlled by Islamic State,” and a chart of crossing points between Turkey and Syria.
Pugh was denied entry into Syria when he refused to allow officials to search his electronics.
According to court documents, Pugh worked on airplane maintenance for years. In the Air Force from 1986 – 1990, Pugh received training in the installation and maintenance of aircraft engines and weapons systems.
Afterward, Pugh worked as an airplane mechanic for American Airlines, as well as other private aviation companies in the U.S. and the Middle East.
Dan Caldwell, Legislative Director of Concerned Veterans for America, said, “His experience in the private aviation sector disturbs me the most because he would have had access to private American and European made aircraft, and he could have learned the security weak points on those aircraft where he could stash weapons, stash bombs and how he could get past security.”
Pugh landed on the FBI’s radar after 911 when an American Airlines employee tipped them off he was sympathizing with Osama Bin Laden. According to the complaint, Pugh had converted to Islam and become more radical during that time.
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