NC man fit for trial on al-Qaida support charge

Jun. 18, 2014 @ 06:06 PM

ELIZABETH CITY — A North Carolina man has been declared mentally competent to stand trial on a charge that he sought to join an al-Qaida-linked militant group in Syria.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle ruled this week after a psychiatric evaluation that the case against Basit Sheikh of Cary can continue in October.

Sheikh's defense attorney had sought the evaluation because he said Sheikh may be mentally incompetent to assist his defense. Sheikh is charged with providing material support to a terrorist group.

The FBI has been on the lookout for Americans expressing interest in joining the Syrian conflict, where they could become radicalized by al-Qaida-linked groups and return to the U.S.

Authorities arrested a 23-year-old Texas man at Houston's airport Tuesday. Prosecutors say Michael Todd Wolfe was heading to Syria.