Aunt of NJ man accused of trying to join ISIS speaks out

NEPTUNE, N.J. (WABC) -- The aunt of an Air Force veteran and airplane mechanic from New Jersey accused of plotting to join ISIS is speaking out.

Talking through the screen door of her home in Neptune, 78-year-old Helena Pugh told Eyewitness News she hasn't seen her nephew Tairod Pugh in several years.

She says the family is shocked by the news he allegedly tried to join ISIS.

Tairod pleaded not guilty Wednesday to terror charges.

Prosecutors say he was stopped at an airport in Turkey in January carrying a laptop full of jihadist propaganda videos as well as information on crossing into Syria.

"I never heard him speaking of it, but I had no idea," Helena Pugh said.
Pugh told investigators he was on vacation and looking for a job and had no intention of going to Syria.

If convicted he faces up to 35 years in prison.
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