A Denver woman has been arrested while attempting to go to Syria to engage in violent jihad, according to court documents made public late Wednesday.
Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, was arrested April 8 at Denver International Airport trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, via Germany, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado. From there, federal prosecutors say, she was headed to Adana, Turkey, and hoped to meet someone known to her as “Y.M.” who wanted to marry her and help her join up with terrorists in Syria.
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A federal official said FBI agents met with her and her parents, told them they were aware of her communications and urged her not to go. "But she was determined," the official said.
The official said she has some mental health issues.
The parents told agents that, "Conley believed she, as a Muslim, needed to marry young and be confrontational in her support of Islam. She conceded her knowledge of Islam was based solely on her own research that she conducted on the Internet," according to the complaint.
Conley is officially charged with provision and attempted provision of material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization — "specifically the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ('ISIS')" according to the court documents. U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Jeff Dorschner confirmed that Conley is being held without bail at an area county jail although she is technically in federal custody.
A federal source, who asked not to be identified because the case is ongoing, described Conley to NBC News as “a lonesome troubled teenager” and added that, “The FBI took extraordinary steps to dissuade her from this crime.”
“But she fell in love on the Internet and was determined to go overseas to join the jihad,” the source added. “She was looking for attention. She found the Muslim religion and radicalized.”
— Pete Williams and Hasani Gittens
First published July 2 2014, 5:05 PM