A judge on Friday ordered a Mesquite man who is accused of lying to the FBI about his allegiance to a terrorist group held without bond until his trial.
U.S. Magistrate Rene Toliver decided Bilal Abood, 37, was a flight risk after an FBI agent testified that Abood was effectively a recruiter for the Islamic State because he sent graphic videos of beheadings and other atrocities to potential sympathizers.
Some of the disturbing images were shown on a television in the courtroom.
“I believe he is a threat just sitting in his apartment,” FBI agent John Brown testified.
Brown, the only witness in Abood’s detention hearing, outlined the government’s case.
Abood, 37, is charged with lying to the FBI about pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS.
Abood, an unemployed security guard, traveled to Syria two years ago against FBI warnings by sneaking through Mexico after he was placed on the government’s “no fly list,” Brown said.
Abood served as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq and later moved to the U.S. and enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he completed basic training, Brown said.
An unidentified witness quoted Abood as saying the U.S. is “the enemy of God,” the agent said.
Abood’s attorney suggested the graphic images could have been seen by anyone on the Internet and suggested Abood’s dual U.S.-Iraqi citizenship allowed him to travel to Syria. The lawyer also argued Abood lived with a girlfriend in Mesquite and argued the FBI had no evidence Abood was actually preparing an attack.
But Toliver quickly made her decision to keep Abood detained, noting he has no family in the U.S. and hadn’t worked in two years.
The U.S. Army confirmed Abood was assigned to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from July 2010 to October 2010 and was released the following month before he could be awarded a military occupational specialty. The reason he left after such a short time was not clear.
Abood faces up to eight years in prison.
NBC 5's Eva Parks contributed to this report.