A Garden Grove man pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges alleging he provided support to the terrorist organization al-Qaida, according to the FBI.
Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, also known as “Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum,” 24, was taken into custody Friday morning at a bus station in Santa Ana where he was attempting to board a bus headed for Mexico, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a brief statement emailed to news media.
Nguyen had been named in a two-count indictment returned Friday by a Los Angeles federal grand jury, the FBI stated.
He was charged with knowingly attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida and making false statements in an application for a passport.
Nguyen had been “radicalized” and wanted to become a “foot soldier” for al-Qaida, sources told the Los Angeles Times.
The indictment alleges that Nguyen on Aug. 23 made the false statements on a passport application about his name, date and place of birth, and his parents’ names and places of birth, in order to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
On Friday, the indictment states, Nguyen attempted in Orange County to provide “services and personnel, namely himself, to work under the direction and control of al-Qaida.”
“Investigators do not believe Nguyen was traveling with others, nor are they aware of a continuing threat to the public at this time, based on his alleged activities,” the FBI advisory stated.
Nguyen is a U.S. citizen, according to the FBI.
Neighbor Ivette Arreola saw authorities responding Friday to Nguyen’s Garden Grove home, where multigenerational family lives, she said.
“They’re really a good, nice family. They go to church; they’re all in school,” Arreola said. “It’s something unbelievable, especially from a neighbor like this when you don’t see anything going on.”
Nguyen was nice and would greet Arreola on a daily basis, she said.
He appeared in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana Friday afternoon, handcuffed and wearing a blue prison uniform. Outside the courtroom, his mother said Nguyen had converted to Islam within the last year.
Nguyen was remanded into custody after entering his not guilty plea, an FBI spokeswoman said. His next court date was scheduled for Oct. 18 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Neither the FBI nor the U.S. Department of Justice could provide spokespeople to comment or provide further detail due to the ongoing federal government shutdown.
No booking photo was made available per federal policy.
KTLA’s Chip Yost contributed to this report.