Washington Transit Police Officer Arrested on Terrorism Charges

VOA News

36 year old Nicholas Young of the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) is accused of giving 22 gift card codes, worth nearly $250, to an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent. The FBI says Young believed his contact had mobile messaging accounts that IS used to recruit members.

The affidavit says Young, an officer since 2003, traveled to Libya once in 2011 and tried to visit there a second time. It also says Young met about 20 times in 2014 with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a U.S. military reservist of Middle Eastern descent and expressed a desire to travel abroad to join IS.

Young had been monitored by the FBI since 2010. Law enforcement authorities first interviewed Young in connection with an acquaintance, Zachary Chesser, who later pleaded guilty to providing material support to the foreign terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Young also held meetings with an undercover law enforcement officer in 2011, sometimes with another associate, Amine El Khalifi, who pleaded guilty to charges of planning to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Officials say Young’s actions did not pose a threat to Metro’s transit systems.

He is scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday afternoon in the Eastern District Court of Virginia. Young faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation into Young was initiated by the MTPD, which «worked hand-in-glove with the FBI in the interest of public safety and to ensure that this individual would be bought to justice,» General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.