Ex-soldier in Al-Shabaab case returns to court
WASHINGTON (AP) - A former soldier from Maryland has been charged with attempting to join a foreign terrorist organization in Somalia, authorities said Monday.
Federal prosecutors in Maryland said 24-year-old Craig Baxam of Laurel was arrested Friday. He was charged with attempting to provide material support to al-Shabab by joining its ranks and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors say Baxam was in the Army from 2007 to July 2011 and served in Baghdad and Korea. According to a court document, Baxam converted to Islam about a week before leaving the Army.
Prosecutors say Baxam left the United States in December and was arrested by Kenyan authorities who suspected he was traveling to Somalia to join al-Shabab. He was interviewed by FBI agents in Kenya and arrested on his return to Maryland after traveling in Africa.
Prosecutors say that when he was asked what he thought his role would be with the group, he said "he would just be another body there." He also allegedly said he was "looking for dying with a gun in my hand."
Reached by telephone on Monday, Baxam's father declined to comment. He said he was undergoing dialysis. The court document charging Baxam says he told officials that if he was released he would take care of his dying father and, if his father should die, he would then try to join al-Shabab again. WUSA9..