California Man Detained on Way to Syria to Join ISIS
A 20-year-old California man who told authorities he wanted to travel to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been arrested, according to federal documents.
The detention order said Adam Dandach of Orange County told federal agents he planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS, “a known terrorist organization, that he would assist ISIS with anything the ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killings of U.S. soldiers are justified killings.”
ISIS is waging war against the Iraqi government and has taken over several major cities in Iraq. It is seeking to create an Islamic caliphate that encompasses portions of Iraq and Syria and has begun imposing Sharia law in the towns it controls.
Dandach was charged with two felony counts of making a false statement on a passport application.
The criminal complaint said Dandach was arrested July 2 at the Orange County Airport, where he planned to board a flight for Istanbul.
He was traveling with a replacement passport that he obtained by saying he’d accidentally thrown away his original passport, the complaint said.
But federal agents discovered Dandach’s mother, Sawsan Ghannoum, had actually taken away his original passport and hidden it to prevent him from taking an overseas trip in December, the complaint said.
The detention order said Dandach admitted to his brother that he perjured himself on the passport application.
“Dandach stated that he was more disappointed that he did not get to go to Syria than in getting in trouble with law enforcement,” the detention order said.
Dandach is being held in custody until his next court appearance, scheduled for Monday in Santa Ana.
CNN made calls to Dandach’s mother, who hung up, and left a voice mail with his brother, Ghassan Ghannoum. A voice mail was also left with his public defender. The voice mails were not returned.
In April, a Colorado woman was arrested at the Denver airport and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to court documents.
Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, allegedly told FBI agents before her arrest that she was going to be with a member of ISIS whom she had met through the Internet.
By Ralph Ellis and Carma Hassan
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