Columbus man arrested while allegedly trying to join ISIS

daniels

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a man believed to be trying to join ISIS at John Glenn International Airport in Columbus Monday morning.

Aaron T. Daniels, also known as Harun Muhammad and Abu Yusuf is accused of providing or attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Daniels, 20, appeared in federal court in Columbus Monday afternoon, where he was ordered held without bond until a bond hearing Thursday at 9 a.m.

According to a federal complaint, Daniels wired $250 to an intermediary for Abu Isa Al-Amriki, a deceased ISIS member and recruiter in early 2016.

In earlier electronic communications during the fall of 2015, according to the complaint, Daniels inquired about traveling to Syria and Afghanistan to “do jihad.”

Daniels allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to travel to Trinidad and Tobago as the beginning of his trip to to Libya.

The complaint notes that Daniels bought a ticket from Columbus to Houston, Texas and on to Trinidad and Tobago before ultimately ending up in Libya.

“We acted [Monday] because Mr. Daniels was about to board an airplane leaving Columbus and it was going to go on a circuitous route, but we believe that the ultimate destination was Libya, where he would intend to be a fighter for ISIL,” said Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

At the airport Monday night, travelers were concerned by the news.

“It shows it’s real,” said Tom Monte, who was traveling from Dallas to Columbus on business. “I mean, the threat is real, and we’ve obviously got to do something about it.”

Erin Pfeifer, who was traveling from Colorado to Columbus, said it makes her nervous about airports.

“It’s scary, cause I’m glad they were able to stop this one person but how many others are there and how are we going to stop them?” Pfeifer said.

Daniels’ case will be heard by a federal grand jury, which will decide whether to indict him. If convicted, Daniels faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Daniels’ mother provided a photo of her son in a graduation cap and gown to NBC4 on Monday, but she said she did not want to speak to NBC4.

Keep checking NBC4i.com for real-time updates on this story. To get alerts for breaking news, grab the free NBC4 News App for iPhone or Android. You can also sign up for email alerts.

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