A Garden Grove security guard pleaded guilty today to a federal terrorism charge that he planned to fly to Pakistan and provide weapons training to members of al-Qaida.
Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, a 24-year-old who had applied for a U.S. passport under the fake name Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum and planned to fake his death, faces up to 15 years in federal prison at his scheduled March 21 sentencing.
When Nguyen was arrested Oct. 11 at a Santa Ana bus station from which he was planning to travel to Mexico, he had with him the phony passport, a plane ticket from Mexico to Peshawar, Pakistan, and a computer hard drive containing more than 180 weapons-training videos, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
City News Service reports Nguyen copped today in U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter's Los Angeles courtroom to a single count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The admission of guilt came as a result of a plea deal filed last week in which Nguyen reportedly admitted:
- He went to Syria a year ago and joined opposition forces.
- He told associates after returning to the U.S. that he had offered to train al-Qaida forces in Syria, but had been turned down.
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- He met between Aug. 3 and Oct. 11 with an undercover FBI agent posing as an al-Qaida recruiter.
- He eventually gave the undercover a photo of himself and a bogus passport application and agreed to fly to Pakistan to train 30 al-Qaida fighters for five to six weeks.
The Vietnamese American's ultimate goal, according to federal prosecutors? Preparing his trainees for "a guerilla warfare ambush attack on coalition forces."