MADISON: An American man traveled to the Middle East in a failed attempt to join the Islamic State group, federal authorities said Thursday.
Joshua Van Haften, 34, was arrested Wednesday night at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago after returning on a flight from Turkey. He is charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Van Haften was ordered held without bond during his first court appearance Thursday.
U.S. Attorney John Vaudreil called Van Haften a flight risk.
Van Haften’s lawyer, Joseph Bugni, said he looks forward to “having all the facts brought to light.”
The criminal complaint, which had been under seal since Oct. 28, alleges that Van Haften talked to people about his plan before leaving the United States in August for Istanbul.
The complaint cites Facebook posts from Van Haften that said he was unable to cross the border from Turkey into Syria. In one post, Van Haften complained that the people who were supposed to help him just wanted his money, that he had almost no cash left and that he was dropped off on a road in the country and never picked up.
Wisconsin court records showed several previous convictions for Van Haften, including felony battery in 1998, second degree felony sexual assault in 1999 and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in 2007, online court records show.
Van Haften was sentenced to three years’ probation on the battery conviction in 1998, but his probation was revoked in 1999 and he was sentenced to a year in jail. He was sentenced to eight years’ probation on the sexual assault charge in 1999, but that was revoked in 2000. He was then sentenced to seven years in prison.