An Ohio man accused of trying to join the Islamic State group has been arrested while attempting to fly to Libya, federal authorities said. Aaron Daniels, 20, was taken into custody on Monday at John Glenn Columbus International Airport after a monthslong investigation, said US Attorney Benjamin Glassman.
A criminal complaint alleges Daniels told an undercover informant about his interest in traveling overseas to commit jihad. The complaint says Daniels wired $250 in January to a Beirut intermediary for now-deceased Islamic State recruiter and attacks planner Abu Isa Al-Amriki.
The complaint said at various times Daniels, who went by the aliases Harun Muhammad and Abu Yusuf, expressed interest in traveling to Afghanistan and Syria to wage war before settling on Libya. In June, Daniels told the undercover informant he wanted to go to Islamic State territory in Libya “so I could support the jihad there,” according to the complaint.
Investigators acted when they saw Daniels preparing to fly to Libya via Houston and Trinidad, said Glassman.
“Any time you are providing material support in the form of money or especially as a traveler, someone who’s going to go fight on behalf of ISIL is a very serious threat,” Glassman said, referring to the Islamic State group by the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Daniels made an initial appearance in federal court wearing ankle and wrist chains. He was read his rights but wasn’t required to enter a plea. His court-appointed attorney declined to comment.
Magistrate Judge Terence Kemp scheduled a Thursday morning bond hearing.