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FBI: ISIS sympathizer arrested at Charlotte airport

After years of an investigation, authorities caught up with a man who they said gave money to and spent time with terrorists overseas.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Virginia man who federal authorities said sympathized with terrorist organizations was arrested when he arrived from the Middle East at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

On Thursday, Waqar Ul-Hassan sat in the Mecklenburg County jail. He's facing federal charges of making false statements involving terrorism, according to a criminal complaint. 

Agents said Hassan met with detectives and was interviewed multiple times over the past few years. 

Hassan, a Pakistan native, moved to the U.S. when he was 15 years old. He and his family moved to Glade Spring, Virginia in the early 2000s, according to a criminal complaint. 

In 2014, federal investigators got word that Hassan was allegedly in contact with terrorist organizations overseas. At the time, Hassan was back living in Pakistan, according to the FBI. 

When he returned, court documents said Hassan was interviewed by detectives and told authorities he didn't know any terrorists, nor did he aid them in any way. 

In subsequent interviews, the FBI said Hassan said similar statements. 

However, Hassan then admitted to authorities that he lied and was in contact with two terrorist organizations, ISIS and Jaish-e-Mohammad, according to the complaint. 

"Every little case has to be dealt with. You cannot pass people by because that has happened so many times in Europe and they turned out to be hardcore terrorists who committed violent acts," said Chris Swecker, former assistant director of the FBI's Charlotte office. 

The criminal complaint details how Hassan spent two to three days staying with terrorists overseas and gave them roughly $400 to $500. 

Hassan also told investigators he wanted help ISIS as well. 

The complaint stated, "because he was angry about what was happening to Muslims around the world, he was serious about sending $175 to the Jihadists in Syria."

Hassan added he, "did not send the money because he did not have a way to get the money there."

If convicted, Hassan could face up to eight years in prison. 

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