A Madison man was arrested Wednesday on charges of traveling overseas in efforts to join the terrorist organization ISIS.
A criminal complaint was filed against Joshua Van Haften, 34, alleging that he attempted to provide material support, namely personnel, to the terrorist organization.
The complaint, filed by FBI Special Agent Eric Roehl last October, provides vast instances of material evidence against Van Haften. This includes Facebook messages and posts, text messages between Van Haften and friends and interviews.
A Department of Homeland Security agent confirmed Van Haften left the United States Aug. 26, 2014 and traveled to Istanbul, Turkey. Roehl’s complaint alleges Van Haften attempted to enter Syria along the Turkish border, a common practice for those seeking to join ISIS.
Roehl explains in the complaint that Van Haften first gained United States government agencies’ attention after a 2012-14 trip to Egypt. During this trip a woman complained to police about Van Haften’s verbal interactions with her as well as a complaint of Van Haften taking pictures of a military facility, which according to the report, is illegal in Egypt.
The FBI talked to a Madison woman in August 2014 who said her 11-year-old son had talked to Van Haften near the Capitol building the same month.
She said her son was talking to an unidentified man, later determined to be Van Haften, about World War III and leaving to go to Syria.
According to an interview Roehl conducted with an anonymous source, listed simply as “Person 4,” Van Haften had strange tendencies.
“Van Haften was a non-violent individual, but there was something strange about him,” Person 4 said.
Van Haften has a history of civil and criminal court cases against him, including second-degree sexual assault of a child, for which he was sentenced seven years in prison, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
According to the Journal, Van Haften will return to Court for an arraignment hearing April 24.