The U.S. Justice Department says a woman accused of conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida and Islamic State has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Shannon Conley, 19, of Colorado was charged last April. The Justice Department said Conley and a co-conspirator worked with other individuals to aid the designated foreign terrorist organizations
The department said Conley met her co-conspirator on the Internet, and he told her he was an active Islamic State member. It said the two became engaged and Conley made plans to travel to Syria.
The department said Conley joined the U.S. Army Explorers to be trained in U.S. military tactics and in firearms as part of the conspiracy. She also obtained first aid/nursing certification.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents met with Conley several times to try to dissuade her from traveling overseas to support a foreign terrorist organization and engage in jihad, the Justice Department said. Agents arrested her when she tried to board a flight from Denver International Airport to Turkey.
A later search of her home reportedly produced DVDs, books and articles about al-Qaida and other terror groups and jihad.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh said Conley was lucky that she was arrested before leaving the United States. “Had she succeeded in her plan to get to Syria, she would likely have been brutalized, killed or sent back to the United States to commit other crimes,” he said.
“This sentencing highlights the rapidly changing, shrinking nature of the world and the implications for law enforcement and public safety,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. He added that terrorist groups now have the ability to recruit U.S. residents to commit violence or provide other support on their behalf.