Air Force Vet Gets 35 Years In Prison For Trying To Join ISIS

A United States military veteran who tried to join ISIS will now spend 35 years behind bars.  

Tairod Pugh, a 49-year-old, former U.S. Air Force airman first class from Neptune, New Jersey, was convicted in 2016 of trying to give material support to ISIS and of obstructing justice. The 30+ year prison sentence was given to him Wednesday. 

Tairod Pugh

Prosecutors say Pugh was stopped at a Turkish airport in January, 2015, carrying a laptop with information on Turkey-Syria border crossing points. The laptop also allegedly contained 180 jihadist propaganda videos, including footage of a beheading.

Prosecutors pointed to a letter he wrote in which he vowed to use his talents and skills to, quote, "establish and defend the Islamic State." 

His is the first verdict from more than 70 cases brought against Americans accused of trying to support the militant group.

Pugh served in the Air Force from 1986-90 and was trained in aircraft engines, navigation and weapons systems. After leaving the Air Force, he worked as an avionics specialist and mechanic for companies in the Middle East and U.S.

The FBI got a tip about Pugh from a co-worker at American Airlines in 2001 who said Pugh expressed sympathy for Osama bin Laden, according to court papers. The airline said he left in early 2000 after only a few months of employment. 

Pugh was convicted in Brooklyn, New York. Pugh’s lawyers have promised to appeal the conviction.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content