Authorities arrested a 27-year-old Muslim man in Virginia Thursday after he said that he wanted to commit jihad and tried to join the U.S. Army and Air Force.
The Virginia man, Shivam Patel, was arrested on charges of hiding information from military recruiters, The Associated Press reports.
The withheld information consisted of details about his travels abroad and the fact that he had been previously arrested in Jordan.
Patel converted to Islam several years ago and decided to travel to Jordan from China in 2016, where he was almost immediately arrested and subsequently deported back to the United States. It’s unclear why he was deported, but his radicalization may have been a contributing factor. News of his arrest in Jordan reached the FBI. Agents asked permission from Patel’s parents to search his room and computers, finding evidence that Patel had downloaded Islamic State magazines and searched for information on how to join the terror group.
Patel apparently told an undercover agent in September 2016 that he desired martyrdom. He also praised past terror attacks in Paris and Orlando.
Patel attempted to join the Army and Air Force via Officer Candidate Selection in December 2016, but in the process, he did not disclose that he traveled to China and Jordan, only stating that he took a family trip to India in 2011-2012. He also tried to join police and fire departments. An Army recruiter reportedly told Patel specifically that failure to disclose travel information could lead to criminal charges.
Separately, Patel met with an Air Force recruiter in January and also did not tell the service that he traveled to China and Jordan.
“He wanted to blend into society and do something ‘glorious,’” FBI Special Agent Thomas Pembroke stated in an affidavit.
Patel faces a maximum jail sentence of up to five years and will remain in custody until at least Tuesday when he faces a detention hearing in Norfolk.
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