A Kentucky man who is accused of joining the Islamic State group, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., made his initial court appearance Monday as part of a federal case that accuses him of assisting the group, prosecutors said.
The man, Mirsad Hariz Adem Ramic, 31, of Bowling Green, is charged with providing material support and conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization. He is also charged with receiving military training from such a foe.
It wasn't clear whether Ramic had an attorney. A federal public defender's office that serves Kentucky didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
A federal court in Kentucky unsealed the indictment Monday, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Ramic, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Bosnia, is alleged to have left the U.S. for Istanbul in 2014. Traveling with two unnamed co-conspirators, prosecutors said, the trio eventually crossed into Syria to join the terrorist group, better known as ISIS.
Ramic attended fighter training, in which he fired an AK-47, relocated to Raqqa, Syria, and used an anti-aircraft weapon "to shoot at planes," prosecutors alleged in the Justice Department's statement.
He and the alleged co-conspirators discussed jihad, or holy war, martyrdom and fighting for the Islamic State group, the Justice Department said.
The FBI has photos of Ramic in Islamic State group territory, prosecutors said. At least one features him in camouflage, standing in front of an Islamic State group-marked pickup truck that was carrying an anti-aircraft gun, according to the Justice Department statement.
Another photo shows him holding a rifle, the Justice Department said.
One of the co-conspirators had twice emailed Western Kentucky University to say Ramic had traveled to Syria and joined the Islamic State group and now wanted its fighters to "conquer" the U.S., the Justice Department statement says.
The reason wasn't clear. The university didn't immediately respond to a request for information about possible connections Ramic may have had to the school.
Ramic was held in Turkey for an undisclosed amount of time before he was deported to the U.S., where he arrived Thursday night, prosecutors said.
If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to as long as 50 years in prison, face as much as $750,000 in fines and be subject to a maximum of lifetime supervision if he is released, they said.