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South Carolina teen who tried to join ISIS pleads guilty

Zakaryia Abdin (Charleston County Detention Center).jpg
Zakaryia Abdin (Charleston County Detention Center)

A South Carolina teenager accused of trying to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court.

Zakaryia Abdin, 19, of Ladson, has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to enemies of the United States. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel will sentence Abdin at a later date.

Abdin in March 2017 was arrested at the Charleston International Airport while on his way overseas to attempt to join ISIS, federal prosecutors say.

FBI agents began monitoring Abdin after discovering a social media account he was using to facilitate his efforts to join ISIS, prosecutors say.

Even after FBI agents met with Abdin and explained the consequences of his actions, prosecutors says Abdin continued seeking out help to get to Syria or Egypt in order to join ISIS.

An undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS operative connected with Abdin. In multiple conversations, Abdin reportedly pledged loyalty to the Islamic State, even recording a video of himself addressed to the leader of ISIS in which he vowed to wage "Jihad" against the "enemies of Allah."

Prosecutors say Abdin went so far as to acquire rifles and a handgun, which he routinely practiced firing at a Charleston area gun store and shooting range.

Abdin eventually applied for and received a passport, at which point prosecutors say he sent a message to the undercover FBI agent asking him to “let the brothers know I am coming very soon.”

Abdin booked a flight to Jordan aboard a commercial airline in late March 2017, and was arrested days later at the TSA checkpoint inside Charleston International.

Abdin faces up to 20 years in prison.