Aaron Daniels was arrested Monday morning at John Glenn International Airport in Columbus as he boarded a flight to Houston, the first of three stops planned to get him to Libya where he planned to join the militant Islamic group. Daniels appeared in federal court Monday afternoon, charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and is being held without bond.
“They were ready to act as soon as he gets on the plane,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which had been tracking Daniels for well over a year as he explored a path to becoming a terrorist.
Federal authorities say Daniels started expressing an interest in jihad online and desire to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, last September, joining social media websites with false names, sending messages about his ambitions for jihad and asking for money and other help to do so.
Since early February, Daniels had been speaking to FBI agents he thought were involved with the Islamic State while laying out his plans to travel from Columbus to Houston, then from Houston to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. From the islands, Daniels planned to fly to Libya with the intent of joining jihadist activities. If convicted, Daniels faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.