Today, 19-year-old Shannon Maureen Conley, of Arvada, sits in federal custody in a Colorado county jail, facing up to 5 years in a federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Conley, who was arrested in April, is under suspicion for working with foreign terrorist organization, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). Law enforcement officials kept the criminal complaint sealed until July 2 due to an ongoing investigation.
According to Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, Conley will be prosecuted in a federal court in downtown Denver.
No trial date, court appearance or status conference has been scheduled to date, but one is expected in August.
According to court documents, Conley, who held Islamic beliefs, had openly talked about waging jihad in the Middle East with FBI agents, who had been investigating the case for eight months prior to the arrest.
“The fear was she was going to violate the law, which is providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, by going there and supporting ISIS efforts; that’s in violation of the law,” Dorschner said.
Conley had been attending Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada for two months prior to the start of the investigation. FBI Agents were alerted to the case when a criminal report, which referenced Conley documenting the layout of the campus, was filed by the church’s pastor and security director in early November according to court documents.
“We asked her not to come back because she was obviously not partaking in the faith, and she agreed,” Faith Bible Pastor George Morrison said.
Following the initial report, Conley was interviewed by an Arvada Police detective and a Special Deputy U.S. Marshall, regarding her activities and experiences at Faith Bible, and her beliefs about Jihad, and the harming innocent people through Jihad.
During the conversation she recognized the religious struggles associated with Jihad, but believed it was war to protect Muslim lands, and cited U.S. military bases as targets.
Over the next five months FBI agents attempted to dissuade Conley from taking action on her plans, trying to persuade her to join humanitarian efforts, such as the Red Crescent, before making the final arrest.
Conley, a former Arvada West High School student, dropped out to obtain her General Education Diploma (GED) and was a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) in the State of Colorado.