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Accused 'jihadist' arrested over gun in photograph

A photograph and video that federal prosecutors say depict an Allegheny County man holding a rifle was the primary evidence used to arrest the man on March 15. FBI agents claim that the suspect is a Taliban sympathizer and potential terrorist, but his attorney said that his client is all talk and that he does not possess a gun.

It appears that federal agents have been monitoring him for some time. Several federal informants have had conversations with him over the years. During those conversations, the man reportedly said he wanted to go to Afghanistan or Pakistan to join the Taliban. But the man's attorney pointed out that the man never went abroad to engage in jihad and said the man was not serious. He added that the informants frequently tried to buy weapons from the suspect without success.

The photo and video footage were taken in July 2010 at an unidentified shooting range. They were either sent to the Department of Homeland Security or otherwise obtained by that agency. The suspect has a felony drug conviction on his record and is therefore prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. Federal agents confronted the suspect near his home and the man tried to escape into his apartment but the agents caught up to him. They searched his apartment and found "jihadist literature and books on U.S. military tactics," in the words of one FBI agent.

The suspect is married and has a newborn child, but at his first appearance the judge ordered him held without bond.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Taliban 'sympathizer' held on federal charges," Rich Lord, March 17, 2012

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