An Alexandria, Va., man who in 2015 quit his job as a Metro Access bus driver and traveled to Islamic State territory has been found guilty of supporting terrorism.
Mohamad Khweis, 27, was captured in northwestern Iraq last March by Kurdish forces, surprising American counterterrorism officials. He had no known record of extremism and was on no law enforcement radar; he made his way from Fairfax County to Syria undetected.
“Khweis voluntarily chose to join the ranks of a designated foreign terrorist organization, and that is a federal crime, even if you get scared and decide to leave,” Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.
Khweis insisted he was not in league with the terrorist group. He went to trial in federal court in Alexandria and testified in his own defense, saying he wanted only to see the situation in Syria with his own eyes. He was convicted Wednesday of providing and conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group, along with firearm possession in connection with those crimes.