North Carolina man faces charge of attempting to join al-Qaida


Basit Sheikh was arrested earlier this month, but the indictment was just unsealed Monday afternoon.

Federal prosecutors say the 29 year old postal worker tried to provide material support and resources to a group associated with al-Qaida in Syria.

Sheikh is originally from Pakistan, but has been living in Cary since 2008.

Authorities have been investigating him for some time -- sometimes through undercover work via Facebook.

Sheikh was arrested on Nov. 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport where he was about to board a series of flights that would take him to Beirut.

Paperwork shows Sheikh was headed to Lebanon where a friend he met on Facebook was then going smuggle him into Syria. That friend turned out to work for the FBI.

When the secret informant even gave Sheikh a chance to back out, saying "fighting is not for everyone," he is recorded as saying "I'm serious. I'm not scared."

In the paperwork, authorities say the incriminating Facebook posts under several accounts with the alias Abdul Basit included pictures of machine guns, and posts of YouTube videos showing U.S. soldiers either hurt or dead. One even showed the destruction of U.S. Capitol building by an "immense wave."

» Read the documents here (.pdf) «

No one answered the door Monday night at Sheikh's home.

For now, he is being held at the Wake County Jail.

If convicted, Sheikh faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release.

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