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Source: Pennsylvania man arrested on gun charge said he wanted to join jihadist group

By Carol Cratty, CNN
updated 9:09 PM EDT, Fri March 16, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Evidence introduced at man's hearing Friday shows his interest in jihadist groups
  • Khalifa Ali Al-Akili was arrested Thursday on a weapons charge
  • "No indication of an imminent threat" from Al-Akili, source says

Washington (CNN) -- A convicted drug dealer arrested on a weapons charge will remain in jail pending trial after a court appearance in Pittsburgh on Friday.

A federal law enforcement official said prosecutors introduced evidence at the hearing alleging that Khalifa Ali Al-Akili, who was arrested Thursday, had made statements that he wanted to join jihadist groups such as the Taliban overseas.

The official emphasized that Al-Akili has not been charged with terrorism.

CNN affiliate WPXI reported that the FBI searched the 34-year-old suspect's home and one agent testified in court that they found jihadist literature and materials on U.S. military tactics.

A second law enforcement official told CNN there's "no indication of an imminent threat" from Al-Akili. The investigation is continuing.

According to an affidavit, Al-Akili -- also known as James Marvin Thomas Jr.-- pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in February 2001. As a felon, he's not allowed to possess guns. The document says the government has a photograph and a video showing Al-Akili on a gun range in 2010 holding a rifle.

Messages left for Al Akili's lawyer were not immediately returned.

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