Former Metro Transit Police Officer Convicted on Charges of Attempting to Support ISIS

Nicholas Young tried to buy gift cards for the terrorist group, prosecutors say

What to Know

  • The defendant allegedly tried to mislead FBI about a friend he believed had joined ISIS.
  • The friend was actually an FBI informant.
  • Young faces up to 60 years in prison.

A former Metro Transit Police officer was convicted Monday on charges of obstructing justice and trying to support ISIS, according to federal prosecutors.

A jury convicted Nicholas Young, of Fairfax, Virginia, of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. He was arrested Aug. 3 at Metro headquarters, NBC News reported.

Young, 37, believed a friend of his, who was actually an FBI informant, joined ISIS in 2014. When the FBI told Young they were investigating his friend's attempt to join ISIS, Young tried to deceive them on behalf of his friend, prosecutors said.

On Nov. 20, 2014, Young sent his friend a text to mislead the FBI to think his friend was on vacation in Turkey, when Young actually believed his friend traveled to Turkey to ultimately go to Syria and fight for ISIS. Young tried to mislead investigators about where and why his friend was traveling during contacts between Dec. 3, 2015 and Dec. 5, 2015, prosecutors said.

Between December 2015 and July, Young also sent the man digital gift card codes to be used with mobile messaging accounts ISIS uses in recruiting, according to prosecutors. ISIS fighters and supporters communicate using encrypted apps, some of which charge fees, NBC News and Newsweek reported.

Young also told an FBI informant that he was stockpiling weapons in his home, prosecutors said. After his arrest, agents removed dozens of boxes from Young's townhouse, including at least one designed to hold long guns.

According to court records, Young was under scrutiny since 2009, when Metro officials reported suspicious behavior to the FBI, NBC News reported. His employment with Metro was terminated after his arrest, according to the transit agency.

Young has been a longtime supporter of Islamic extremism and also has Nazi sympathies, prosecutors allege. He traveled to Libya in 2011 and told the FBI he fought with rebels seeking to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, NBC News reported.

Law enforcement officials first interviewed Young in September 2010, in connection with his acquaintance Zachary Chesser.

Chesser, of Bristow, Virginia, pleaded guilty to providing material support to the terrorist group al-Shabab. The Muslim convert also told the creators of the television show "South Park" they risked death for mocking the Prophet Muhammad in an episode.

Young began working for Metro in 2003.

He posed no credible threat to the Metro system, Joshua Stueve, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, told NBC News.

Young faces up to 60 years in prison. He will be sentenced in February, prosecutors said.

Young has filed a lawsuit against the Alexandria Sheriff's Office saying he could see himself dying in jail because he is being held in solitary confinement in and 8-foot-wide cell for 22 hours a day.

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