A Texas man who pleaded guilty last year to attempting to travel to Syria in support of an Islamic terrorist organization was sentenced to almost seven years in prison, authorities announced Friday.
Austin resident Michael Todd Wolfe, 24, admitted he planned to travel to the Middle East to help the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly referred to as ISIS, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
From August 2013 to June 14, 2014, Wolfe prepared for “violent jihad” by acquiring a U.S. passport, participating in physical fitness training and practicing military maneuvers. Wolfe, also known as Faruq, attempted to conceal his communications regarding his planned overseas travel, authorities said.
In February 2014, Wolfe and his wife met with an undercover FBI agent Wolfe believed would help him travel to Syria through Turkey, the DOJ said. The three watched a YouTube video about foreign fighters in Syria, CNN reported.
“While watching the video, Wolfe occasionally stopped the video to explain the current allegiances of the various groups fighting in Syria. They include ISIS, al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, the Free Syria Army, and Dawla,” the complaint read, as reported by CNN.
Wolfe bought airline tickets to Europe so he could meet with the undercover FBI agent who would then facilitate his trip to Syria, the DOJ said. Wolfe was arrested in Houston June 17, 2014, while attempting to board a flight to Toronto, Canada.
The investigation was conducted by the Central Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes elements of the FBI; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; U.S. Army Intelligence; Austin Police Department; Round Rock Police Department; Killeen Police Department; University of Texas Police Department; Travis County Sheriff’s Office; Texas Department of Public Safety, Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.