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Florida man gets 20 years for terrorism charges

January 14, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — A 21-year-old Florida man accused of conspiring to aid al-Qaida and traveling to the Middle East to join terrorist groups has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville reports that Shelton Thomas Bell was sentenced Wednesday. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

Authorities say Bell planned to join Ansar Al-Sharia, which is an alias for al-Qaida. The group has taken responsibility for attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing during a parade in May 2012. That attack killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers.

Investigators say Bell participated in physical, firearms and other training in Florida to prepare for armed conflict.

In September 2012, Bell and a juvenile went to Amman, Jordan, and made contact with someone who investigators said could help them travel to Yemen to participate in violent jihad, according to the indictment. The indictment does not say whether Bell ever entered Yemen.

Bell and the juvenile were eventually deported from Jordan to the United States in November 2012, authorities said.

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