Two Wisconsin men charged with trying to join Islamic State
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Wisconsin men have been charged with attempting to travel overseas to join the Islamic State militant group, the Justice Department said on Friday.
Jason Michael Ludke, 35, and Yosvany Padylla-Conde, 30, both from Milwaukee, were arrested near San Angelo, Texas, allegedly while trying to travel to Mexico where they intended to acquire documents necessary to travel overseas to join Islamic State, the department said in a news release.
The two men are among numerous people arrested in the United States in the last two years on accusations by authorities of planning to join Islamic State, which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
A spokesman for the Justice Department could not say who was serving as an attorney for Ludke or Padylla-Conde when reached by phone.
The complaint, which provides an FBI agent's affidavit and was filed in federal court in Milwaukee, said an undercover FBI agent received a friend request on a social media platform from Ludke and he expressed his intentions to travel through Syria and into Iraq.
The affidavit claimed Ludke expressed his support for the head of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The complaint also said Padylla-Conde was later seen pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi in a video sent to the undercover agent.
The complaint said Padylla-Conde told interviewing FBI agents that he left Wisconsin in September because he could not find steady enough work to afford rent and was being evicted.
Ludke informed the FBI after his arrest that the two left Wisconsin because of their impending eviction and that he was afraid of going back to jail, according to the complaint.
If convicted, the two men face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Eric Walsh and Alistair Bell)
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