A Cary, NC man is now facing a federal charge that he tried to aid a foreign terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in a federal court last week.
Basit Javed Sheikh is suspected of trying to give support to the Nusra Front, which is fighting in the civil war in Syria. His father, Javed Sheikh said this week that the federal allegations are false.
According to a federal grand jury in Raleigh, North Carolina, there is sufficient evidence to indict the man to stand trial on the federal charges. He is being held in Wake County NC in the county jail.
Law enforcement arrested Basit Sheikh in early November at Raleigh Durham International Airport, according to an FBI affidavit. He told an FBI source that he wanted to join the Syrian jihad. He stated in August to the FBI informant that he had gotten a job in logistics and the management of medical supplies in Syria.
Sheikh is 29 and lives in the Park Village subdivision in Cary. The home next to his house is owned by the suspect’s father. Sheikh is from Pakistan and is a green card holder in the US. He also was a resident of the Republic of Seychelles, a small island country in the Indian Ocean.
The FBI document, which was filed Nov. 4 in the Eastern District of North Carolina’s federal court, noted that the suspect had posted online about jihad and about the mujahedeen fighters in Syria. Most of the posts were done on Facebook accounts that are thought to be controlled by Sheikh.
These social media accounts have been shut down by Facebook.
Sheikh first came into contact with an FBI source online through an Islamic extremist page on Facebook. The suspect was seeking the relationship and told the FBI source about his desire to get out of the US. He told the source that he wanted to join a jihadist group called Ahrar al Sham, which is noted in the affidavit as a group of Salafist and Islamic fighters against the Assad regime in Syria.
Sheikh made several attempts to join the civil war in Syria, the FBI affidavit stated. He went to Turkey in 2012 and joined the Free Syrian Army, but he left a month later because the group was too interested in money, he told the FBI source.
He then tried to leave again, booking a flight one way to Istanbul, but he did not show up for the flight. He stated later that he did not want to leave his parents.
Eventually though, the FBI source led Sheikh towards arrest. He put him in touch with another FBI source who said he was a member of the group Jabhat al Nusra. Sheikh arrived at the Raleigh airport for a flight to Canada and then to Turkey and Lebanon. At the security check point he was put under arrest.
The US Attorney on the case, Thomas Walker, noted that this federal indictment was only for one person, and should not be used to slander any other person.