An 18-year-old Indiana man accused of trying to travel overseas to join the Islamic State militant group should remain held until trial because he's a flight risk and poses a potential threat to the public, federal prosecutors argued in a court filing.
The government's detention motion, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, seeks to have Akram Musleh detained until he's tried on a charge of providing material support to the Islamic State.
Prosecutors contend there is "a serious risk" Musleh will flee, obstruct justice or attempt to obstruct justice, and "pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community."
The Brownsburg, Indiana, man was arrested Tuesday and remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals ahead of his detention hearing on Monday.
A criminal complaint alleges Musleh intended to provide material support to the terror group also known as ISIL by joining it.
His attorney, federal public defender Michael J. Donahoe, declined to comment Thursday, saying "we'll just let things play out in court."
In their motion seeking his continued detention, prosecutors cited Musleh's alleged repeated attempts to travel overseas to join the Islamic State group, as well as his Internet searches for pressure cookers, "various explosives, instructions for constructing explosive devices, and explosive chemical recipes."
Pressure cookers and explosives can be used to make explosive devices, the motion said.
The criminal complaint charging Musleh said he read an article in early May about more than 8,000 potential terrorist targets in Indiana.
FBI agents apprehended Musleh on Tuesday at a Greyhound bus terminal in Indianapolis as he tried to board a bus to New York, where he was to fly to Morocco and on to territory controlled by the Islamic State, prosecutors said.
Tuesday's bid was not Musleh's first attempt to travel to the Middle East. He made five different reservations last year to travel to Iraq or to Turkey, allegedly as an attempt to reach territory controlled by Islamic State fighters, the complaint said.
Musleh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Law enforcement made contact with the suburban Indianapolis youth and Brownsburg High School officials in 2013 after the FBI identified him as someone who posted several videos featuring an al-Qaeda leader online, the complaint noted.
Federal agents and school officials "took steps to dissuade Musleh from engaging in radical extremism," it said. But nine months later, Musleh bought an Islamic State flag online and later photographed himself with it, according to the complaint.