Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Ex-GI charged with trying to aid terror group

Jan. 9, 2012 - 03:01PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 9, 2012 - 03:01PM  |  
  • Filed Under

Federal prosecutors have charged a former Army trooper with trying to provide support to terrorists after he allegedly traveled to Africa to link up with the violent militant group al-Shabaab.

Craig Benedict Baxam, 24, of Laurel, Md., was arrested Jan. 6 after returning to the United States from Africa. He allegedly wanted to give money to al-Shabaab, a militia group trying to destabilize Somalia's transitional government.

Baxam, an Iraq War veteran, tried to reach Somalia but was caught in Kenya by local anti-terrorism authorities, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein in a release.

He allegedly converted to Islam just days before he left the Army.

Baxam joined the Army in 2007 and completed eight months of advanced training for cryptology and intelligence at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, according to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.

He was deployed to Baghdad with the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., and he re-enlisted when his deployment completed. In August 2010, he deployed for a one year assignment at Camp Red Cloud, Korea, with the 2nd Infantry Division.

One month prior to completion of his deployment in Korea, Baxam separated from the Army and returned to Maryland in July 2011.

Baxam secretly converted to Islam after finding an Islamic religious website, the affidavit states.

"An article therein about the Day of Judgment spoke to Baxam," the affidavit stated. "Baxam read more and immediately realized that Islam was the truth."

He allegedly decided to relocate to Somalia to live under Sharia law and defend al-Shabaab if it was under attack.

Baxam cashed out his retirement savings of about $3,600, purchased a plane ticket to Kenya and flew out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Dec. 20, 2011.

He took a bus to Mombasa, Kenya, and hired taxis to travel through Kenya to Somalia. He carried more than $600, which he planned to give to al-Shabaab as an offering shortly after he crossed into Somalia.

On Dec. 23, 2011, Kenyan police stopped a bus in which Baxam was traveling near Mombasa, Kenya, and arrested him for attempting to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab.

Baxam was held at the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in Nairobi and interviewed by the FBI.

Al-Shabaab, which is also known as Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin and "The Youth," was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 2008.

Baxam faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Uniform overhaul
Warm-up suit, parka and lightweight NWUs are in the works

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook