Md. man plotted attack on US service member, faces terrorism charge

WASHINGTON — A Hyattsville man has been arrested on a federal charge of trying to aid a terrorist organization for planning to attack a member of the U.S. military in Maryland.

Nelash Mohamed Das, 24, a permanent U.S. resident from Bangladesh, was arrested Friday during a sting operation. He believed he and an FBI informant were going to attack the service member.

The pair purchased ammunition in Virginia and used it to load guns provided by the informant. Unknown to Das, the FBI had disabled the guns, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Das also believed ISIS would pay him $80,000 for his efforts, the complaint states.

In July, Das told the informant that he wanted to kill a service member who lived in Prince George’s County. He learned of the service member from an ISIS list posted online. However Das couldn’t find the list again, so the informant provided him with fake information about another alleged service member and they planned their assault, court records said.

Das prepared for the attack by assembling gear including clothing, a bag and a pair of stolen gloves.

Last fall, Das posted on Twitter the name of another individual who had hoped to join the U.S. military, saying that the person “aspires to kill Muslims.” Investigators with the FBI believe that Das wanted to incite violence against the individual, according to court records.

On several occasions, investigators said Das posted tweets in support of ISIS and once told the informant that he wanted to travel overseas to join the militants. He also tweeted a photo of an AK-47 calling the weapon a “ticket to Jannah,” or paradise.

Investigators note Das’ interest in guns in the criminal complaint. Das took a handgun qualification course in the spring and made multiple visits to a firing range in Prince George’s County during the past few months. In June, he applied for a Maryland state handgun permit.

If convicted, Das would face up to 20 years in prison.

Das made his initial appearance in court on Monday. A detention hearing is set for Thursday.

Court documents said that Das arrived in the U.S. in 1995 when he was 4 years old.

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