DAYTON, OH (WDTN) –A Dayton man accused of trying to join ISIS pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday afternoon.
A grand jury indicted Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, on one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Alebbini is accused of trying to provide support, in the form of himself, to the foreign terrorist organization.
Alebbini was arrested April 26 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The FBI reportedly found out about Alebbini’s alleged plans three days before he tried to leave the country to join ISIS fighters.
He has been in Montgomery County Jail since his arrest.
If convicted, Alebbini could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
A federal complaint alleges Alebbini, a citizen of Jordan and legal permanent resident of the United States since April of 2014, attempted to travel to Syria, via a flight to Turkey or Jordan. Investigators say Alebbini was traveling to fight with ISIS against the Syrian government.
According to information contained in the federal complaint, Alebbini was arrested in January for unlawful entry into the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. The charges were later dismissed. The document state Alebbini refused to say why he was on the property but did say “You are going to regret this” while being escorted off Embassy property.
The documents also say Alebbini attempted to travel to Turkey in January but was denied entry because his Jordanian passport was expired. He returned to the U.S. days later.
On January 23, Alebbini was interviewed by the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service about the incident at the Turkish Embassy. During that interview, Alebbini admitted posting pro-ISIS videos on his Facebook page, according to the complaint filed in federal court. The complaint also says in that interview “I am the perfect recruit for ISIS.”
According to the complaint, Alebbini told investigators security at the Embassy was very lax, and “if I had a bomb on me, I swear to God, three embassies would have gone down.”
Court documents claim Alebbini met a woman from Dayton and moved to the area in March.