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Former Soldier from Laurel Sentenced for Trying to Join Somali Terrorists

A former Army soldier from Laurel will spend time in federal prison for trying to join a group of Islamic terrorists in Somalia.

Former Soldier from Laurel Sentenced for Trying to Join Somali Terrorists

A former Army soldier from Laurel was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for trying to join a terrorist group in Somalia so he could live in an area that followed strict Islamic law,  WJZ reports.

Craig Baxam, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court to destroying records that might be used in a terrorism investigation, acknowledging he destroyed his computer before leaving the country in 2011, the TV station says.

Baxam was arrested in Kenya while trying to enter neighboring Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab, WJZ says.

A 2005 graduate of  Laurel High School who was born in Takoma Park, Baxam joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and completed advanced training in cryptology and intelligence, according to  The Washington Post.

Baxam left the Army about a week after he had “secretly” converted to Islam, the newspaper says. Baxam told federal agents that he discovered Islam while he was browsing the Internet and had no previous religious affiliation.

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