The 19-year-old American woman who last year pleaded guilty to trying to help Islamic State group militants was scheduled to be sentenced Friday, the Associated Press reported. Shannon Conley, a Caucasian woman from suburban Denver, was arrested at Denver International Airport in April while trying to board a flight en route to Syria. Authorities say Conley, a Colorado certified nurse aid, wanted to marry a man she met online who said he was fighting with Islamic extremists and that she also wanted to fight with him.
Conley could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, but the sentence depends on whether she cooperated with the authorities’ investigation, according to the AP report. She pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Conley knew the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, had been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by federal authorities, according to the criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Colorado.
Conley, a Muslim convert, is among dozens of Western women who have been lured by extremists into the militant extremist movement, the BBC reported. An estimated 50 to 60 women from the U.K. have traveled to Syria through Turkey to join the Islamic State, where they’ve met other women from a range of countries in the West, including the U.S., Austria, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway and Sweden.
Conley told authorities she met a co-conspirator, identified only as Y.M. in court papers, online in 2013, according to a Reuters report. The criminal complaint describes the pair as sharing a “view of Islam as requiring participation in violent jihad against any nonbelievers." Y.M. told Conley that he was an active member of ISIS and instructed her to obtain military tactics and firearms training from the U.S. Army Explorers in Texas, which Conley did last February.