WAXHAW, NC (FOX 46) -
A neighbor of the Waxhaw man charged with lying to the federal government about trying to join ISIS and help others do the same says he’s surprised that the allegations involve someone in his neighborhood.
“That’s the biggest shock for me. It’s literally next door. It’s not just on TV,’ Walter Wright said.
Wright is stunned to find out his neighbor in the town of Waxhaw, Alexander Samuel Smith, was arrested by the federal government and charged with lying to the FBI about his plans to travel to Syria and join ISIS.
“It makes me kind of nervous because when you hear a lot of stuff about ISIS, it’s big major cities,” Wright said.
According to the indictment, which was just released Thursday, Smith first made contact with an FBI informant back in July 2014. That informant identified himself to Smith as an ISIS representative.
Smith who met with the informant in the town of Matthews told the FBI source he wanted to go to Syria and fight with ISIS and that he could help others get there too with cheap flights, according to the indictment, which explains that Smith’s girlfriend worked for an airline at the time.
The federal documents say smith eventually had his girlfriend purchase a ticket and smith emailed it, along with itinerary to the FBI informant, who had explained the ticket was for quote “a brother who ISIS needed a lot.”
In an interview with the FBI, according to the paperwork, Smith denied it all saying “I just want to be a normal American citizen, man, and live my life.”
When Fox 46 Charlotte went to Smith’s house Friday, the person who answered the door said“no comment.”
Wright did not know Smith, but he believes his family has lived in Waxhaw for at least a couple of years. He’s just really surprised by the accusations against his neighbor.
It’s a pretty close knit community to hear any type of danger or anything of that caliber, it’s just like wow! You never know what’s going on behind closed doors.”
“It doesn’t make me feel safe at all. It’s very uneasy.”