FBI arrests Arvada teen suspected of trying to support al-Qaeda, ISIS
By Jesse Paul
The Denver Post
An Arvada teenage girl arrested in April on suspicion of attempting to support al-Qaeda and its affiliates — including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — was warned for months by federal agents investigating her that her support could lead to her incarceration.
One FBI agent met with her seven times, trying to dissuade her from supporting jihad and suggesting that she instead commit herself to humanitarian work, court papers say.
Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, was taken into custody at the Denver International Airport by the FBI as she attempted to board a plane on her way to Turkey, according to Dave Joly, an FBI spokesman. The case against Conley was not unsealed until Wednesday because of an "ongoing, active investigation," when news of her arrest and alleged activities became public, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Denver.
Investigators from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated Conley for roughly eight months before arresting her April 8, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in the Denver U.S. District Court.
During that time, she repeatedly told federal agents — who identified themselves and met with her on a near-weekly basis from November to April — that she was committed to waging jihad in the Middle East.
Conley went ahead with her plans, led by a man she met on the Internet who identified himself as a terrorist associated with ISIL and with whom she built a romantic relationship online as he encouraged her to travel to Syria to fight alongside him.
Even after federal agents met with her parents, warning them of their daughter's radical beliefs, and even after her parents tried to dissuade her, Conley purchased a plane ticket to Turkey, where she planned to meet the man she met online, court filings say.
The U.S. attorney's office in Denver declined to comment on the case, and attempts to reach Conley's attorney, a federal public defender, were unsuccessful. If convicted, Conley could face up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
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