A woman in Virginia has been arrested and accused of trying to help someone join ISIS in Syria. Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29, also wrote Facebook posts in support of the Islamic Sate, including one that read “I love ISIS.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Coffman Allegedly Lied to Agents About Supporting ISIS
Coffman is charged with making a false statement to the FBI about international terrorism.
She was first questioned by officers at her job in Glen Allen, Virginia, on November 13. During that interview, Coffman denied any support for ISIS.
Little did she know, the person she was trying to hook up with the Islamic State in Syria was an undercover FBI agent. The Associated Press reports that the agent told Coffman that he wanted to become a “shahid,” the Arabic word for martyr.
See the criminal complaint against Coffman above.
2. She Lives With Her Parents & 7-Year Old Child
Her lawyer, Mark Henry Schmidt, told the Washington Post that Coffman is the loving-mother to her 7-year-old child and that she lives with her parents in Virginia. He called her case one of “Facebook going badly,” adding:
As far as I know she hasn’t traveled anywhere. Her connections with the outside world would be on the Internet. I imagine you can get into trouble on the Internet, but I imagine you can also think a lot more’s going on than really is. If nothing else, this is certainly a cautionary tale about the Internet.
She will appear in court on November 19. CBS Richmond reports that the case was made by FBI through social media posts and undercover interviews. A neighbor told the station that FBI agents could be seen raiding a home on the 4300 block of Penick Road a week before the arrest was announced. That neighbor, Stephanie Clohessy, said “I saw them take a table out. They had lights blasting and on their backs it said FBI.”
3. Coffman Told an Undercover Agent That She Hooked Her ‘Husband’ Up With ISIS
FBI docs state that an agent reached out to Coffman who told the fed she had previously hooked up a man, whom she called her “husband,” with an ISIS member in Turkey. Though she added that her “husband” ultimately backed out of the plan. The Associated Press reports that Coffman and her “husband” have split up.
4. Her Pro-ISIS Facebook Posts Tipped Off the Feds
In bizarre Facebook posts, Coffman expressed explicit support for ISIS, reports the Washington Post. On June 23, she posted, “WE ARE ALL ISIS, ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ & SHAM.”
Then, on June 28, one of her Facebook friends asked why she was posting in favor of the group to which Coffman replied, “I love ISIS!” On one of her Facebook pages it says that she lives in Hafsarjah, Idlib, Syria. It adds that she’s from Heidelberg, Germany. Some of the groups she’s a member of include “Love For Allah” and “Free Palestine.”
5. Coffman Said Her Sister Is Also Interested in Jihad
Also one of her Facebook pages, Coffman wrote posts about how she teaching her sister about jihad. She wrote, “My dad is a little angry because I got her into all this jihad stuff.” In another post where she defended ISIS, Coffman wrote, “I know … it’s all Zionist propaganda though! If we can rid the world of them … then the world will be a better and peaceful place.”
According to authorities, Coffman maintained several Facebook accounts under different names, including Ubeida Ametova. On one of those accounts she described her job as “jihad for Allah’s sake.”