HOUSTON (AP) “” A Texas man accused of trying to sneak out of the U.S. to join al-Qaida fighters in the Middle East and provide the group with money, equipment and U.S. military documents will be tried Monday on terrorism charges.
Prosecutors allege that Barry Walter Bujol Jr., 30, said he wanted to “die with the brothers for the cause of Allah, and to be in Heaven.” A U.S. citizen, he was arrested in May 2010 after using fake identification to sneak into a Houston port and board a ship bound for the Middle East, authorities said.
An FBI informant had given Bujol a bag filled with GPS receivers, two nonpublic restricted-access Army manuals and other items he had allegedly agreed to courier to al-Qaida operatives in the Middle East. Authorities say Bujol believed the informant was a recruiter for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
The standard allegations of “entrapment” are likely to follow, but these FBI stings have proven a highly successful method for steering would-be jihadist murderers into a controlled “off-ramp” that leads from active plotting to jail.
An FBI task force claims that Bujol had been emailing Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric with ties to al-Qaida, and is believed to have exchanged emails with Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in the November 2009 Fort Hood shootings.
Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in late September in Yemen.
Authorities say Bujol made three unsuccessful attempts during February and March 2009 to travel overseas to Yemen or the Middle East.
He was arrested after a two-year investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft.
Bujol, from Hempstead, northwest of Houston, had been set to plead guilty in the case in October 2010, but he changed his mind. He fired two attorneys, decided to represent himself and has elected to have a judge, not a jury, decide his case.
According to court documents, Bujol used at least 14 email addresses to hide his activities from authorities and advocated attacking U.S. facilities where military weapons were manufactured.
Photo from an unrelated story at Fox News.