Lackawanna Muslim pleads guilty to trying to join ISIS

To hear investigators talk, the case against Arafat M. Nagi began more than three years ago, fueled by a tip from a community member upset about Nagi’s vocal support for violent jihad.

Over time, it became clear the Lackawanna man had gone so far as to publicly pledge his allegiance to ISIS and on two separate occasions travel to Turkey in hopes of joining the terrorist group.

On the eve of his trial in Buffalo federal court, Nagi on Monday admitted trying to join ISIS. He faces a recommended sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Nagi was arrested in 2015 and charged with attempting to provide material support – in this case, himself – to a foreign terrorist organization.

“He told his family he hoped to enter Syria and die a warrior’s death,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch said Monday.