Ex-soldier from Md. indicted on terror charge

March 7, 2012 - 10:25 PM

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A former Army soldier has been indicted in Maryland on charges that he tried to join a terrorist organization in Somalia.

A federal grand jury indictment returned Wednesday charges Craig Benedict Baxam with attempting to provide material support to al-Shabab. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years if convicted.

The 24-year-old Baxam, who is from Laurel, served in the Army from 2007 to 2011. He was arrested on a criminal complaint in January upon returning to Maryland from Africa.

Prosecutors say Baxam cashed out his retirement savings and bought a plane ticket to Kenya with plans of traveling to Somalia and joining al-Shabab. He was arrested in Kenya before reaching Somalia.

Baxam's public defender has said Baxam was naive, impulsive and simply exploring his religion.