NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - An 18-year-old Ladson man charged with trying to join ISIS pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
The public defender of American-born Zakaryia Abdin did not ask for bond.
Adin, whose family is from Syria, was arrested at the Charleston International Airport last Thursday night. Authorities say he was trying to travel out of the country to join the terrorist organization.
Abdin was indicted on a terrorism charge by a federal grand jury Tuesday. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An affidavit unsealed Tuesday alleges Abdin sought help online from a person he thought was affiliated with ISIS, but was really an undercover FBI agent. Abdin told the agent he had pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014 and wanted help joining.
The 18-year-old told the agent he was "very close" to doing something similar to the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting and was willing to commit an attack on U.S. soil if needed.
According to the affidavit, Abdin started buying and selling guns at the beginning of the new year. He also practiced at shooting ranges, it says.
When he was 16, the man was convicted of planning to steal guns that would be used in an attack at a North Carolina military installation. He was sentenced to be behind bars until his 21st birthday, but was recently paroled.