SEATTLE -- A California man was arrested near the Blaine border crossing Monday and charged with attempting to join the terrorist group called Al Qaida in Iraq
Federal prosecutors say Nicholas Michael Teausant, 20, was attempting to get into Canada and planned to travel to Syria to join the organization, which is changing its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
He was charged in Federal Court on Monday.
Federal documents claim he was plotting to go help Al-Qaida in Iraq and used social media to express his desire to conduct a violent jihad, be part of America's downfall and even discussed with a federal informant about hitting Los Angeles in a subway terror plot.
Teausant also allegedly sought out a book known for articles like "Bomb Making" and "Remote Control Detonation."
The threat was believed real enough that agents stopped him near Blaine late Sunday.
Teausant spent about a year on Mercer Island. He attended Mercer Island High for the 2009-2010 school year and was on the track team. Some old acquaintances say the allegations are out of character.
"I was just shocked, I just totally forgot about him until today,” said Thomas Lemon.
However, the former pastor at what is now called Evergreen Covenant Church remembers a much darker Teausant.
"I remember him as a very troubled young man," recalled Greg Asimakoupoulos, "I remember he often acted out in what I would interpret as being an attempt to get kids to like him."
Asimakoupoulos also remembered Teausant's father was an unemployed librarian and his stepmother was a podiatrist. It seemed, he said, like an unsettled youth.
"Looking back, I can see it was not a stable environment," he said.
Teausant was in the process of being released from the U.S. Army National Guard and lives in California. He was interviewed by a reporter last week near Sacramento and expressed disgust with a man suspected of a posing as a soldier.
"When it's my job to keep his rights secure he needs to keep my rights secure and take it off,” he said.
Teausant even suggested that he likes to avoid conflict.
"I avoid confrontation as much as possible,” he said.
A judge ordered Teausant held and shipped to California to face a charge of attempting to provide material support to foreign terror organization.
He faces a possible penalty of 15 years in prison.
KING 5's John Langeler contributed to this report