Texan convicted of trying to help al-Qaida

November 14, 2011 - 5:20 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas man accused of attempting to sneak out of the country with restricted U.S. military documents, money and equipment in order to join al-Qaida was convicted Monday of trying to help the terrorist organization.

Barry Walter Bujol Jr. was convicted of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Bujol, who is a U.S. citizen, represented himself at his trial, which was heard at his request by a judge instead of a jury. The verdict by U.S. District Judge David Hittner came after a trial that lasted less than four days.

Prosecutors said Bujol sought to join al-Qaida and to provide it with money, the military documents and GPS equipment. He was arrested in May 2010 after a two-year investigation and was taken into custody after using fake identification to sneak into a Houston port and board a ship bound for the Middle East, authorities said.

But the 30-year-old said he never sought to harm the United States or any American and the reason he wanted to leave the country was due to his displeasure with U.S. foreign policy. He said he wanted to become a better Muslim.