A 19-year-old Colorado woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Shannon Conley appeared before the judge wearing a Muslim headscarf and her jail jumpsuit. She told the judge she understood the ramifications of her plea, according to 7 News Denver.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ordered that Conley must undergo a psychological evaluation before he sentences her. The Daily Mail reports she could face up to five years in a federal prison and be subject to a $250,000 fine.
Conley was arrested April 8 at the Denver International Airport as she attempted to board a plane to Turkey. There she hoped to meet a Tunisian man with whom she had fallen in love. The two planned to make their way to Syria and join the Islamic militant group ISIS, authorities said.
Conley converted to Islam last year. The FBI became aware of her in November when a Denver-area church complained to authorities that she had been hanging around the church and taking notes.
The Associated Press reported in July that police had questioned her but she said she only “wanted to meet people of other faiths and learn about them.”
She later reportedly told police that she “hated” the people in the church.
“If they think I’m a terrorist, I’ll give them something to think I am,” she is quoted as saying in court documents.
She was interviewed by authorities again in December. By that time she had reportedly grown more militant and admitted to joining the US Army Explorers program to learn how the military worked.
“She said she intended to use that training to go overseas to wage Jihad. She also intended to train Islamic Jihadi fighters in US military tactics,” the criminal complaint against her states. “She further stated that if she is not allowed to fight because she is a woman, she will use her medical training to aid Jihadi fighters.”
In March, the Tunisian man with whom Conley had fallen in love contacted her father and asked for his blessing in their marriage. Conley’s father refused to give it. A few days later he discovered his daughter had a one-way ticket to Turkey and he contacted the FBI.
FBI agents contacted Conley again and warned her of the possible consequences of boarding a plane with the intent to join a militant group and carry out terrorist attacks.
“When asked if she still wanted to carry out the plans, knowing they are illegal, Conley said that she does,” the complaint states.
Time magazine reports Conley’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23.