Colorado woman accused of supporting Islamic State terrorist group

The FBI says a woman from Colorado was helping the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the violent jihadist group that has since renamed itself Islamic State, according to documents unsealed Wednesday.

The 19-year-old woman was arrested in April as she allegedly attempted to board a flight she hoped would ultimately get her to Syria. There, she planned to meet with Islamic State members, FBI officials said Wednesday. She is charged with conspiring to help a foreign terrorist organization, court documents show.

Shannon Maureen Conley was arrested April 8 at Denver International Airport after telling federal agents she planned to go live with a Tunisian man she met online who claimed to be fighting for Islamic State. Conley, a nurse’s aide, said she planned to become a housewife and a nurse at the man’s camp.

Conley, a Muslim convert, told federal agents she wanted to utilize the American military training she gained from the U.S. Army Explorers to launch a holy war in the Middle East. The documents state that her “legitimate targets of attack” included military facilities, government employees and public officials, the Associated Press reported.

ABC News in Denver reported that authorities began investigating Conley in November 2013 when the pastor at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colo., called police to report that a teenager had been seen suspiciously taking notes at the church’s main campus on several occasions, according to a federal affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.

“Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world,” according to the documents.

If convicted, Conley faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine, Reuters reported.

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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