US: Soldier, 30, awaiting trial for taking a military vehicle on a joyride was able to fly to IRAQ while wearing an ankle monitor, researched bombs online and posted about Al Qaeda on Twitter - PressFrom - US
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USSoldier, 30, awaiting trial for taking a military vehicle on a joyride was able to fly to IRAQ while wearing an ankle monitor, researched bombs online and posted about Al Qaeda on Twitter

23:27  14 march  2019
23:27  14 march  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A U.S. Army National Guard officer was able to travel to Iraq for two days while wearing an ankle monitor after he was arrested for hijacking an armored car last year.

Joshua Yabut broke the terms of his bond agreement by traveling on commercial flights to the Middle East.

The 30-year-old soldier was also caught researching bombs online and posting about Al Qaeda on Twitter, prosecutors say.

Yabut, from Virginia Beach, was out on bond awaiting trial in both Richmond and Nottoway on charges related to another offence, when he was able to fly commercially to the Middle East, CBS6 reported.

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In June he hijacked a tank-like personnel carrier from a National Guard base in Virginia and lead officers on a two-hour chase through Virginia.

An employee at Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office called the Virginia Fusion Center on January 31 to report suspicious activity involving Yabut, according to a report in his case file.

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Yabut, who is wearing an electronic ankle device, is being monitored by the Richmond Circuit Court Mental Health Docket.

Investigators said Yabut used his military ID to board a plane at Naval Station Norfolk to fly to the naval air station in Jacksonville around the time of January 11.

Yabut subsequently took a commercial flight to Charotte, flew again to Toronto and then again to Keflavik, Iceland.

He then caught a connection to Istanbul, before ultimately ending up in Iraq on January 26.

He flew back to Norfolk two days later, according to investigators.

Sources told CBS6 that Yabut's ankle monitor was attached when he boarded the flight to Jacksonville, but at some point during the trip it was taken off.

He contacted an officer who oversees home-electronic monitoring a few days later.

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He claimed that 'he no long had his monitor and requested a new monitor be installed,'  the report said.

Court documents stated that investigators discovered photos that indicated Yabut had been looking 'into prices of having Denatonium Benzoate shipped from China.'

He also posted pictures on Twitter that showed Yabut at an airport in Iraq.

Another court document claimed that Yabut’s Twitter page featured postings and information related to Open Source Jihad and Al Qaeda.  These tweets have been apparently taken down and can longer be seen.

It specifically contained links to magazine articles detailing how to make pressure cooker bombs and house to construct 'train derailment devices.'

'I don't think there's any question to that, he presents a level of threat,' said Colonel Matt Bristol, a retired Staff Judge Advocate for the United States Air Force.

'It's hard to say if he's detached from reality,' he told CBS6.

Bristol, who is not involved in the investigation, also expressed worry about Yabut being able to leave the state, and the country.

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'I’m surprised that he was able to board a military aircraft at Norfolk Naval Air Station, not withstanding he was wearing an ankle bracelet,'  Bristol said.

In Richmond, Yabut faces a charge of eluding police. Two other charges, including driving under the influence of drugs, were dropped and his case has been moved to Richmond's mental health docket.

In Nottoway, he was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. He could now face additional charges in both jurisdictions for his apparent pretrial violation.

He is currently being held at the Richmond City Justice Center without bond and is expected to appear again in court in Richmond next April.

Yabut is a first lieutenant who deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard.

He is still a member of the Virginia National Guard, according to Alfred 'Cotton'  Puryear, public affairs officer for the Guard.

In June, Yabut shared shots of his 60-mile run through Virginia while tweeting bizarre comments while the police were on his tail.

The soldier led police to Virginia's capitol of Richmond, and was heading through downtown straight toward the Capitol building.

Capitol police officers with combat-style rifles guarded the entrance to Capitol Square as a police helicopter shined a spotlight on the vehicle and police worked to stop traffic.

Stunned onlookers filmed the chase as dozens of police cars pursued the vehicle along Route 460, Interstate 95, and through the streets of Richmond.

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