by: Amy Clancy Updated:
BLAINE, Wash. - Former Mercer Island High School student, 20-year old Nicholas Michael Teausant, appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon suspected of terrorist plots against the United States. Teausant, who attended MI HS for his sophomore year from 2009-2010, was arrested late Sunday night while attempting to cross the border into Canada at Blaine, Washington.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of California by Assistant United States Attorney Jean M. Hobler, Teausant planned to join Al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Teausant, a soon-to-be-released member of the National Guard in California, bragged on social media and to an FBI informant about his "desire to conduct violent jihad and to be a part of America's ‘downfall.'” FBI agents were watching as Teausant boarded an Amtrak train on Saturday night in Lodi, Calif. Agents were also watching as Teausant switched trains in Sacramento bound for Seattle, then as he boarded a bus bound for the Canadian border. Before that bus could cross at Blaine, Teausant was taken into custody by agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Teausant, who had been living in Acampo, California, appeared in a Seattle courtroom on Monday, charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. According to the documents, Teausant told the FBI informant last October about his plans to fly from Canada to Syria so "that he could train fighters in Syria to shoot properly." Teausant also told the same informant about his plans to bomb the Los Angeles subway system on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, a plot he said was foiled because the FBI uncovered the plans through postings on Facebook.
Undercover FBI agents and informants had been watching and interacting with Teausant for at least five months. When Teausant needed money for his trip to Syria, he sold his laptop computer. The buyer, according to the criminal complaint, was an FBI special agent. The FBI is now conducting forensic analysis of Teausant’s computer for evidence of terrorist plots, but Web searches of “how to build a bomb” have already been found, the complaint alleges.
Teausant will be transferred to federal custody in Sacramento.