Authorities said Thursday that two people have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in California and Texas, including a refugee from Iraq who is charged with lying to federal investigators about his travels to Syria.
A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday accuses Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, of traveling to Syria to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lying to investigators about it.
The complaint said Al-Jayab, a Palestinian born in Iraq who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012, communicated on social media about his intent to return to Syria to fight for terrorist organizations, discussing his previous experience fighting against the regime in Syria. When he was interviewed by citizenship officials, he lied about his travels and ties, the complaint alleges.
Ben Galloway of the federal defender's office is the suspect's attorney. He did not immediately return telephone and emailed messages Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento said Al-Jayab was arrested Thursday morning in Sacramento. Meanwhile, the governor and lieutenant governor of Texas praised the arrest in Houston of what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called a terror suspect.
"Based on the facts, as we know them, today's action may have prevented a catastrophic terror-related event in the making and saved countless lives," Patrick said in a statement.
Federal officials in Houston did not immediately provide more details.
Federal officials say a separate arrest in Milwaukee that grew out of the Sacramento investigation is not related to national security.