NEW YORK (AP) — A Vietnamese man extradited from the United Kingdom will be arraigned Wednesday on charges he provided material support to al-Qaida in Yemen after telling his wife he was going to Ireland, authorities said.
Minh Quang Pham, 32, made an initial appearance Monday in Manhattan federal court after arriving in the United States on Thursday. He was expected to enter a plea to a 2012 indictment that accuses him of traveling from the UK to Yemen in late 2010 and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Messages to his lawyer, Steven Frankel, were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Pham could face a mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison and a maximum of life is convicted of charges including conspiring to provide material support to a terror organization, accepting military-type training and using firearms.
Pham spent half a year in Yemen, pledging his support to high-level members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and vowing to wage jihad while he received military-style training, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release.
FBI Assistant Director Andrew G. McCabe called Pham a "dangerous terrorist."
According to court documents, Pham told his wife he was traveling from the UK, where he lived, to Ireland when he was actually going to Yemen, where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is located. UK authorities arrested Pham at Heathrow International Airport when he returned.
The U.S. State Department designated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as a terrorist organization in January 2010 after it claimed responsibility for attempted terrorist attacks against the U.S., authorities said.
They said the group claimed responsibility in 2009 for an attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound passenger plane from Europe and later claimed responsibility for an October 2010 plot to send bomb-laden packages on U.S.-bound cargo planes.