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Crime & Courts

Former U.S. Army Soldier Charged With Trying to Provide Material Support to Terror Group Al-Shabaab

A former U.S. Army soldier has been charged with attempting to provide material support to terror group al Shabaab, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Craig Benedict Baxam was arrested Friday upon return to his home state of Maryland after he was captured in Africa during an alleged attempt to reach Somalia, where the terror group is based.

Baxam, 24, joined the Army in 2007 and served in Baghdad and Korea. During his enlistment, he completed eight months of advanced intelligence and cryptology training, the Justice Department said in a press release. 

According to court papers, Baxam secretly converted to Islam days before leaving the Army, one month ahead of completing his deployment in Korea. He returned to Maryland in July 2011 and reportedly sought to move to Somalia to join al Shabaab.

Baxam allegedly flew to Kenya using money from his retirement savings account, and carried several hundred dollars in cash to give al Shabaab as an offering after crossing the border into Somalia, the Justice Department said.

"The complaint alleges that Craig Baxam intended to travel to Somalia and join the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "Mr. Baxam was caught in Kenya before he reached Somalia, and there is no allegation that anyone assisted him." 

He was arrested by Kenyan police for attempting to travel to Somalia to join the terror group as he was traveling on a bus near Mombasa. He was held at the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and questioned by the FBI, officials said.

Baxam is scheduled to appear in federal court in Maryland Monday. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Fox News' Mike Levine and NewsCore contributed to this report. 

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