NEW YORK – A U.S. Air Force veteran convicted in New York of terrorism charges for trying to join the Islamic State group and die as a martyr will spend 35 years in prison.
Tairod Pugh (TAY’-rahd pyoo), Neptune, New Jersey, was sentenced Wednesday.
Prosecutors say Pugh was stopped at a Turkish airport in January 2015 to carry a laptop with information on Turkey-Syria border crossings. They say that the laptop also contained 180 jihadist propaganda videos, including images of a beheading.
Prosecutors cited a letter Pugh wrote to his wife saying there were only two possible outcomes for him: “Victory or martyrdom.”
Pugh’s lawyer insisted he had no malicious intent when he went to Turkey.
Pugh’s 2016 conviction was the first verdict of the more than 70 cases the government brought against the Americans accused of trying to support with the militant group.